The above passage by Justice Benjamin Cardozo clearly reflects the age-old maxim of the common law, Nullus commodurn caperepotest de injuria sua propria, which expounds the philosophy that no individual shall profit from his own wrong. The present Virginia statute concerning homicide and succession to property was enacted by the legislature to reflect this common law policy. However, because of the very narrow scope of the statute and the requirement that it be strictly construed, it is presently inadequate to respond to many of the issues facing our judges in Virginia. Section 64.1-18 of the Virginia Code states that no convicted murderer shall be allowed to acquire any interest in the estate of the person he murders either by descent or distribution or by will, nor shall he be allowed to receive any payment on a life insurance policy covering the victim's life.
Sandra G. Schneider,
Barring Slayers' Acquisition of Property Rights in Virginia: A Proposed Statute,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol14/iss1/11