No. 28736 - State of West Virginia v. Lloyd Mitchell Dews
Maynard, Justice, dissenting:
I would affirm the appellant's conviction for third offense DUI. The majority
reverses the conviction based syllabus point 3 of State v. Nichols, 208 W.Va. 432, 541 S.E.2d
310 (1999), which says that a trial court must exclude evidence of a prior conviction
constituting a status element of the offense if stipulated to by the defendant. I dissented in
Nichols, and I dissent in the instant case for the same reason. The only basis underlying the
majority's holding in Nichols is its mistaken belief that jurors are unable to correctly use
evidence of prior convictions.
In the instant case, there is ample evidence for a jury to find beyond a
reasonable doubt that the appellant drove a vehicle in this State while under the influence of
alcohol. As a result, the majority's fear that the jurors found the appellant guilty of DUI
because they knew of his two prior DUI convictions is unfounded.
Accordingly, I dissent.