Maxwell v. CommonwealthAnnotate this Case
At issue in these two appeals was Va. Code Ann. 8.01-384(A), which provides that the absence of a contemporaneous objection when there is no opportunity to make a timely objection at the time a ruling or order is made shall not prejudice a party on motion for a new trial or on appeal. In both cases - Maxwell v. Commonwealth and Rowe v. Commonwealth - the court of appeals held that Va. Sup. Ct. R. 5A:18 barred consideration of issues on appeal when the litigant had failed to make a contemporaneous objection in the circuit court. The Supreme Court (1) reversed the court of appeals’ judgment in Maxwell, holding that the court of appeals erred in determining that Maxwell’s assignment of error was defaulted for lack of a contemporaneous objection because Maxwell and his counsel lacked the opportunity to make an objection contemporaneously with the circuit court’s act of proceeding in Maxwell’s absence; and (2) affirmed the court of appeals’ judgment in Rowe, as Rowe failed to articulate a cognizable objection at a time when the circuit court could take appropriate action, and Rowe did not lack the opportunity to make his objection to the circuit court.