Virginia: Conduct as an Admission – a Lawyer’s Evidence

Virginia: Conduct as an Admission – a Lawyer’s Evidence

In the brain injury case of Gagnon v. Burns, No. CL07-557-00 in Gloucester, Virginia, plaintiffs argue that defendant’s conduct in destroying evidence and approaching witnesses should be considered some evidence of gross negligence. The Virginia Supreme Court has declared that “a party’s conduct, ‘so far as it indicates his own belief in the weakness of his cause,’ is admissible as an admission against interest.” Gray v. Graham, 231 Va. 1, 9-10 (1986)(avoidance of being photographed). Such “acts or conduct of a party may be admitted into evidence, because they show a ‘consciousness of guilt’ and thus constitute, in effect, an admission by conduct. Charles E. Friend, The Law of Evidence in Virginia, §18-49(9)(1)(6th ed. 2003).” Commonwealth v. Wallace, 70 Va. Cir. 341, 343 (Portsmouth Mar. 29, 2006)(subsequent imposing statements to a prospective witness).