While presumptions and burdens of proof have generally eluded effective analysis, the presumption of malice has almost defied it. Notwithstanding a common law origin and the significance that instructions of the presumption of malice have played in many murder trials in Virginia, the presumption has constantly been under attack. This comment will explore the meaning of the presumption of malice and determine whether Virginia's approach violates the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment in light of the recent Supreme Court decision of Mullaney v. Wilbur.