Journey Through Justice Novak v Commonwealth
Navigation Image Trial Court Case Summary Appellate Court Progression of Novak Case Juvenile Proceddings

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Shawn Paul Novak, a juvenile age 16, was detained by the Juvenile & Domestic Relations District Court in Virginia Beach based on his alleged involvement in the murder of two young boys. He was transferred to Virginia Beach Circuit Court to be tried as an adult on a charge of capital murder. The jury found Novak guilty of capital murder and he was sentenced to life in prison.

On appeal to the Court of Appeals of Virginia, the defendant argued that he was improperly transferred from the Virginia Beach Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court to the trial court for prosecution as an adult, and that the Circuit Court failed to conduct a de novo (retrial) review of the transfer before trying him as an adult. The defendant also contended the trial court made other procedural errors during the trial.

The Court of Appeals of Virginia affirmed his conviction. The defendant then appealed his criminal conviction to the Supreme Court of Virginia and was denied a hearing. The next appeal made by appellant Novak was to the United States Supreme Court. He was denied a hearing in this court. Novak’s final appeal was made to the Supreme Court of Virginia on a writ of habeas corpus challenging the Commonwealth of Virginia’s right to hold him in prison. The Virginia Supreme Court denied this appeal, thereby exhausting Novak’s ability to appeal his conviction and sentence.

Capital murder: The killing of more than one person as a part of the same act or transaction.