Maryland’s robbery law is not “substantially similar” to Virginia’s and cannot be mentioned in a Virginia robbery trial.

The Court of Appeals of Virginia reversed a robbery conviction because the trial court considered evidence of two prior robbery convictions from Maryland.  The issue was whether robbery in Maryland is “substantially similar” to robbery in Virginia.

In Virginia, an intent to steal which arises after the application of force is insufficient to prove robbery.  However, in Maryland, if force precedes the taking, the intent to steal need not coincide with the force.  Since in Virginia robbery cannot be an “afterthought” crime.  In Maryland it can be.  Since one could have been convicted in Maryland of behavior that would not have been a crime in Virginia, the offense were not “substantially similar” and the Maryland robberies could not be considered by the Virginia court pursuant to Virginia Code sec. 19.297.1.

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