Wrong place, wrong time to test car’s limits

Woman can’t plead guilty to meth if she wanted to; Cappiali bench trial set for October

It doesn’t pay to speed.

“Not in Rappahannock County,” a defense lawyer agreed Tuesday after Rappahannock Circuit Judge Jeffrey W. Parker held court on Gay Street.

Nolan W. High, a resident of Maryland, was driving with his wife through the Ben Venue section of the county when he decided that a certain stretch of Route 211 would be a good place to test what was under the hood of his Infiniti.

Or as Rappahannock County Attorney Art Goff put it: Mr. High “saw an opportunity and stomped on it.”

The costly speedometer test, which lasted mere seconds, was so spontaneous that Mrs. High, who was occupied on her smartphone at the time, wasn’t even aware that her husband was speeding.

The arresting officer, who for everybody but Mr. High was in the right place at the right time, clocked the Infiniti as traveling at 100 mph in a 55 mph zone.

Mr. High, whose wife appeared with him in court, has had no prior traffic convictions. “I’m very sorry. I regret what I did,” he told the judge.

“In my day,” Parker confessed, “I had the tendency to see what a car can do.” Still, the no-nonsense judge saw to it that High would spend this coming weekend in jail, pay a fine, and perform community service.

Meanwhile, Joseph Sanford Burns appeared on yet another probation violation, this one surrounding a possession charge.

“He doesn’t give up,” insisted Burns’ public defender, and “wants to get his addiction under control.”

But Goff equated the defendant’s probation record to a “train wreck” — all told, an amazing six probation violations.

“It’s rare it gets that far,” Judge Parker agreed in weighing an added felony penalty to the man’s list of convictions.

There was also the case of Michelle Lynn Mullins, who admitted when arrested last September that she was in possession of methamphetamine. Still, she’s finding it difficult to stand trial. Goff explained to the judge that all these months later the county still has not received lab test results on the substance in Mullins’ possession.

As the prosecutor pointed out, for all the county knows the substance “could be heroin.”

Lawyer David Konick was also back in court Tuesday, representing Jeremiah “Jack” Atkins in his unresolved complaint that John and Beth Cappiali of Amissville have effectively amassed a junkyard — without a permit — of vehicles, trailers and farm equipment on their property that fronts Route 211.

During the hour-long proceeding, the judge agreed with Konick that the Cappialis through their counsel, Sylvia Sevilla, have failed to provide Atkins with adequate responses to interrogatories, including providing personal property tax records from other counties for “30 to 40” pieces of equipment that before rolling — or being rolled — into Rappahannock County were kept in the Remington and Nokesville areas.

When Sevilla suggested the tax records were submitted to a bookkeeper and then lost — “they’re gone,” she insisted — Judge Parker replied that was like saying “the dog ate my homework.”

He gave the defendants 21 days to produce the records, which are easily obtained from local governments.

Surrounding another interrogatory, Sevilla claimed her clients could not produce specific federal and state tax returns going back to 2016 because taxes were not filed during the three-year period. She produced an IRS confirmation of “no filing.”

That said, Judge Parker set an Oct. 17 bench trial date for this particular Cappiali case, with a pre-trial conference scheduled for Sept. 24. There is also a separate criminal proceeding filed by the county government against the couple surrounding the same alleged violations of county codes related to their property.

About John McCaslin 449 Articles
John McCaslin is the editor of the Rappahannock News. Email him at editor@rappnews.com.

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