Farrara v. Commonwealth, No. 200117 (Va. 2021)
Nature of Case: Appellant was found to be a SVP by the trial court after a proceeding where he was precluded from introducing evidence from prior psychological examinations that were conducted by the state. The trial court concluded that, because Appellant did not submit to an examination in the instant case, he was precluded from offering evidence under Virginia law. Appellant sought review from the Virginia Supreme Court.
Holding: The Virginia Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the trial court in excluding the proposed evidence. While the Court found that the trial court erroneously concluded that Virginia statutory law precluded the admission of the evidence in these circumstances, the Court nevertheless concluded that this error was harmless. In the circumstances where a SVP respondent fails to cooperate with an examiner, the court is within its authority to preclude the admission of additional evidence on the grounds of fairness.