Court of Appeals Considers Huguely Request for New Trial
The Court of Appeals for Virginia heard arguments Tuesday in the case of George W. Huguely V, the former University of Virginia lacrosse player who was convicted in the May 2010 beating death of his girlfriend, UVA lacrosse player Yeardley Love.
The court is considering two trial errors claimed by Huguely's attorneys. They argue that his Charlottesville trial continued even though one of his attorneys fell ill, while they contend a jury prospect had raised serious doubts about her impartiality but was seated nonetheless.
In April a judge granted Huguely an appeal hearing on two of five counts. But his lawyers want all five, including a due process violation over an impending civil lawsuit from Yeardley Love family, improper jury instructions and a manslaughter cap on any future conviction.
Huguely's new, high profile defense team took its plea before a three-judge panel Tuesday morning. In 10 minutes, they argued why Huguely should get an appeal hearing on all five trial issues, not just the two a judge signed off on in April.
NBC29 legal analyst Lloyd Snook said, "The court has to decide whether it would have made any difference."
The judges grilled the defense on the jury instruction issue and the civil lawsuit issue saying both are common in these types of cases.
"The problem is what lawyers mean by malice isn't what ordinary people mean by malice and so it can get confusing," Snook stated.
Huguely's defense team also told the judges an additional five jurors should have been dismissed during the February 2012 trial because of ties to UVA and domestic violence as well as media exposure to the case.
The judges did not immediately rule Tuesday, it could take them days or weeks to make a decision. An appeal hearing on the other two issues has not been set at this point.
George Huguely was not present for the hearing, but nine members of his family were there, including his mother and his aunts.