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April, 2011

  1. Tree Law

    April 30, 2011 by Allan

    Now that Hurricane Irene has left and gone to Canada, we are left to deal with the legal issues she left behind. One of the most vexing concerns our old friends, the Tree.
    No, not “Tree” Rollins, the basketball player, it’s those green leafy things in your yard.
    What if a tree falls on your house after being blown over by wind and rain? Who pays for the damage if the tree was growing next door? Hopefully, some insurance company. But, the fact

    by a falling branch from a tree in your yard? Ah boy, are these interesting questions. As we lawyers often say, “It depends.”You see when you have no reason to know the tree will probably fall, the branch may probably break off, it gets tough. I get a lot of calls from people asking about their right to trim a tree that has branches growing over the property line. If so, you may trim it after advising the owner of your intentions. Believe it or not, I have actually has court cases over this stuff. Sometimes, the people got into fights over this, and assault warrants were taken out.
    My advice, be nice, try to work it out with the other guy. Failing that you can pay a lawyer. We are always willing to make a fee on these issues.

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  2. What is a "Verity?"

    April 27, 2011 by Allan

    In one of my Blogs I used the

    term”verity” to described the way a police officer”s testimony is viewed in Court.

    The word verity is defined in the dictionary as (a) the quality or state of being true or real, (b) something that is true; especially: a fundamental and inevitably true value or (c) the quality or state of being truthful.

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    If you place your client”s word verses that of a police officer, boy, are you in trouble! In a case I tried in Virginia Beach, I was faced with a civil case between a police officer and my client over a private dispute. At trial the officer wore his police uniform. I objected,”He”s wearing his truth-telling suit.” Well, it seems like it”s true. Wearing the police uniform, does not allow a person to tell a falsehood in Court.

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  3. A Word About Our Blogs

    April 25, 2011 by Allan

    In order to comply with Virginia State Bar ethical standards, we must remind our readers that the purpose of our Blogs is to advertise legal services delivered by the Law Firm. If a reference is made to a case result, we do not mean to infer that any result would be the result of any future case handled by the Firm. Case results are fact specific. That means that the result of any future cse depends on the facts involved. You should not rely on any legal opinion asserted in these Blogs

    advice, you should consult your personal lawyer.

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  4. What Civil Court Judges Want You to Know

    April 24, 2011 by Christy

    October 21, 2011

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  5. Somali pirates sentenced to life in yacht attack

    by Christy


    Two Somali pirates were sentenced to
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  6. Address to Norfolk/Portsmouth Bar Association

    by Christy

    Read Andrew A.

    Protogyrou’s Address to the Norfolk/Portsmouth Bar Association

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  7. Address to Norfolk Police Academy

    by Christy

    Read Andrew A. Protogyrou”s Address to

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  8. Virginia Beach Judge reduces jury sentence in drug case

    by Christy


    A judge sentenced a man on who confessed a role in a marijuana distribution ring to

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  9. Chesapeake man to serve 7 years in fatal shooting

    by Christy


    After weighing both versions of what happened a Circuit Court Judge on Friday July 15, 2011 sentenced defendant Collins to seven years in prison.

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    death as an “execution-style shooting” when he almost gave the defendant 10 years in prison.

    “It’s two people with a gun facing each other – it’s almost like a duel,” Protogyrou said heatedly. “You’re assuming it’s an execution.”

    Read the full article: Chesapeake-man-serve-7-years-fatal-shooting

    All case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case. These prior case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case.

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  10. Post Conviction Motion

    by Christy

    Our firm was retained post conviction to determine if there were any grounds for an appeal. Another firm handled the trial of the case. The evidence presented at a jury trial against our client was strong and the jury convicted him of three drug related crimes, importing marijuana into the Commonwealth of Virginia, possession of more than five pounds of marijuana, and conspiracy to distribute. In Virginia, the jury recommends a sentence and almost 100% of the time a judge sentences to the jury’s recommendation. The jury recommended a total sentence of fifteen years, five years on each conviction. However, Virginia Sentencing Guidelines called for a 3 year active time of incarceration.

    In reviewing the trial transcript, Lindsey A. Flaherty of our firm discovered that the trial judge had made some comments about the “strong smell of marijuana” coming from the boxes that were not tested for marijuana residue. Further, the comment was made just after defense counsel had objected to the classification of the plant material in the boxes as being marijuana. Lastly, this comment was made within earshot of the jury.

    Based on this comment, Lindsey and Andrew A. Protogyrou filed a Motion for Mistrial arguing that the trial judge’s comment amounted to testimony confirming that the plant material in the boxes was marijuana. We anticipated arguing this motion prior to the sentencing hearing. Instead of arguing the motion in open court, we asked to meet in chambers with the Court and explain our position. This was done in an effort to avoid embarrassment for the trial judge and discuss our ultimate goal – getting the lowest possible sentence for our client.

    Ultimately, we withdrew our motion and the judge sentenced our client to three years, which was the minimum mandatory sentence by statute. The judge noted that they could and that the jury fined our client only $1. Therefore, the judge was comfortable in sentencing our client to the three years recommended in the guidelines.

    All case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case. These prior case results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case.

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