CRIMINAL – Instructions, Amendments: Combs v. Commonwealth (COA 2/6/2009)

Combs v. Commonwealth
2009 WL 277074
Opinion by Senior Judge Guidugli; Judges Stumbo and Thompson concurred.

The Court reversed and remanded a judgment of the circuit court entered subsequent to a jury verdict finding appellant guilty of trafficking in a controlled substance.

The Court held that the trial court erred in submitting instructions permitting the jury to find appellant guilty as a principal after it allowed the Commonwealth to amend the indictment to charge appellant with complicity to trafficking in a controlled substance, first degree. Appellant was substantially prejudiced when the Commonwealth was permitted to pursue both charges after the evidence was closed, as appellant had no opportunity to defend herself against the original charge of trafficking.

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