The Court of Appeals will hear oral argument for the first time in an appeal filed after the expansion of the Court’s jurisdiction on January 1, 2022. On Tuesday, June 28, 2020, a panel sitting in Norfolk will hear argument in Yo v. Commonwealth, 0035-22. Yo, it’s just “Yo” — like “Prince” and “Cher” — is presently being held under the Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators Act and as both “Yo” and under his birth name of Mario Ballard is a frequent flyer in the Appellate Courts, both with appointed counsel and pro se. In fact, Yo has two pending appeals in the Supreme Court and 25 previous ones and at least 12 previous appeals in the Court of Appeals. So while this is the first “new jurisdiction” case to be heard on its merits, I don’t think it will prove to be a particularly momentous one when the opinion is issued later this summer.
The same panel will hear two additional 2022 appeals, another criminal appeal and an appeal involving a termination of parental rights, both of which also would have fallen under the Court’s more limited jurisdiction. So that Court will not take up a civil case on the merits just yet.
Of course, the Court has already dealt with some 2022 cases. Worley v. Commonwealth, 0004-22, was a bond appeal and likely the first “new jurisdiction” case dealt with as it was dismissed upon a notice of withdrawal or settlement on February 4 of this year. And some civil cases have been dismissed for fatal procedural errors, including one in which your humble correspondent was counsel for the appellee.