Summerfield v. Commonwealth

In Summerfield v. Commonwealth, 41 Va. (2 Rob.) 767 (1843), the defendant was charged by separate indictments with passing two counterfeit coins to two different persons on the same day. After he was acquitted on one charge, the defendant petitioned for bail on the other, arguing, inter alia, that the two charged offenses were "but one offense in law." In doing so, the defendant attempted to draw an analogy to The King v. Thomas, 168 Eng. Rep. 537, 539-40 (K.B. 1800), where an English court had held that the uttering of several instruments at one time constituted but one indictable offense. The defense in Summerfield argued: It is certainly not impossible for a man to pass two different pieces of coin, and to two different persons, under such circumstances as to make it but a single simultaneous and continuous act of passing; as much so as the uttering of several forged receipts, which it has been decided may constitute only one offense. (41 Va. (2 Rob.) at 769.) The court refused the request for bail without elaboration.