In Winfield v. Commonwealth, the Virginia Supreme Court held that the state's recently enacted rape shield statute could not restrict or infringe upon the defendant's sixth amendment right under the United States Constitution to confront his accusers. In overruling the trial judge, the court stated that section 18.2-67.7 of the Code of Virginia actually expanded the admissibility of evidence related to specific prior sexual conduct of the prosecutrix. By this ruling, Virginia has joined a minority of jurisdictions which have refused to recognize the special dilemma of the prosecutrix in a rape trial and to grant additional protections under her constitutional right of privacy. Such recognition and protection is the intent of the rape shield statutes.
Philip L. Hatchett,
Winfield v. Commonwealth: The Application of the Virginia Rape Shield Statute,
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol18/iss2/8