3-Judge Panel Hears Huguely Appeal
George Huguely's defense team is confident his second-degree murder conviction will be overturned. Wednesday, those on both sides of the appeal duked it out in a Richmond courtroom. No decision came down though, and that will likely not happen until three or four months down the road.
Huguely killed Yeardley Love in May 2010. The two were University of Virginia students, lacrosse players and romantically involved. Huguely is currently serving a 23-year sentence.
A three-judge panel heard arguments in the case. The hearing lasted 50 minutes and focused heavily on the claim Huguely's Sixth Amendment right to counsel was violated during his February 2012 trial.
George Huguely's defense team says there were three main errors made during his trial in 2012. First, he did not have an impartial jury. Second, Huguely's trial should have been continued when one of his attorneys became ill. Finally, the jury was not properly instructed on the definition of malice. Wednesday's hearing focused on the first two.
Defense Attorney Paul Clement said the circuit court judge should have postponed the trial even longer than he did when one of Huguely’s attorneys, Rhonda Quagliana, became sick, allowing the defense's witnesses to remain in their original order.
A senior assistant attorney general defended the decision to move forward after several continuances adding that co-counselor Fran Lawrence said he could proceed without Quagliana.
"We felt like they had good questions for both sides. And we feel very, this is a good sign that the court accepted our petition and heard our argument today,” said Clement.
Both sides also argued over keeping two people on the jury - one who said Huguely was guilty before the trial, the other who said all male athletes are violent.
The hearing lasted 50 minutes. Huguely's family attended with no comment on the way out, but his mother, Marta Murphy, did say in a statement, "We love and support George."
Now, the court can affirm the jury's decision, reverse the decision and send it back to circuit court for a new trial, or the court can pick and choose some of the arguments.