April 26, 2013
George Huguely is serving a 23-year sentence for killing his former girlfriend, Yeardley Love, but that may change. The Virginia Court of Appeals has granted Huguely an appeal in his murder case.
Charlotteville attorney Scott Goodman calls it a "significant win" for the defense. "It's a worrisome signal for the Commonwealth that the court is taking this seriously and is looking at whether or not it was appropriate for the case to go forward."
In a ruling issued Tuesday, the Court of Appeals granted Huguely an appeal based on two key issues. According to court documents, the court agreed with the defense's argument that Huguely's right to counsel was violated when one of his attorneys, Rhonda Quagliana, fell ill and missed a day of trial. The court also granted the appeal based on the failure to exclude "Juror 32" because of possible doubts about his/her impartiality.
"If either of those issues are upheld by the Appellate Courts, then the case would be reversed and Mr. Huguely would be entitled to a brand new trial just because of that one error," Goodman said.
Commonwealth's attorney Dave Chapman prosecuted the case. He released the following statement Friday about the ruling:
"We remain confident that Mr. Huguely received a fair trial and that will ultimately be the decision of the Appellate Courts."
The Attorney General's office is now handling the prosecution of the case. Huguely's also has a new defense team. He's now being represented by Paul Clement, who served as the 43rd Solicitor General of the United States.
Court documents show Huguely's legal team argued that there were a number of "constitutional and procedural errors" in the trial, including that instructions given to jurors on the pivotal point of malice were "inadequate" and that there was a lack of evidence to support a murder charge. The defense also argued jurors should have been told about a possible civil suit by Yeardley Love's family. The Virginia Court of Appeals denied the petition on those grounds.
April 26, 2013
CBS19 News has confirmed that the Court of Appeals has granted an appeal for George Huguely.
A Charlottesville jury found the former University of Virginia lacrosse player guilty last year of killing his girlfriend, also a UVa lacrosse player, Yeardley Love.
The appeal was granted based on two arguments presented to the court by Huguely's defense team.
The first argument is that Huguely was denied a right to counsel when one of his lawyers became sick during the trial. The trial was put on hold for a day because of Rhonda Qugliana's illness. When court resumed, Huguely's other attorney, Fran Lawrence, had to cross-examine a witness that Quagliana prepared for.
The court also granted the appeal based on the failure to exclude a juror because of possible doubts about her impartiality.
The appeals court did not agree with the defenses argument that the evidence supported a crime no more serious than manslaughter.
The court's ruling indicated there was "ample evidence" to support a murder conviction.
A judge sentenced Huguely to a 23-year in prison last year for the second-degree murder conviction.
This ruling means Huguely's attorneys can move forward with the appeals process.