June 11, 2013
Lawyers representing former University of Virginia lacrosse player George Huguely appeared in Virginia's Court of Appeals Tuesday morning in an effort to get a new trial.
Huguely's lawyers briefly made their case in a 10-minute oral argument before a panel of three appellate judges in Richmond.
"The defense wants to take advantage of every opportunity it has to raise all of the issues before the Court of Appeals," defense attorney Scott Goodman said.
Initially, only two of the defense's eight objections to the trial were granted merit -- that it continued despite one of his attorneys' being sick, and that one of the jurors was not qualified to sit on the jury.
The defense team -- Paul Clement and Craig Cooley -- want the six remaining objections to be considered in the appeals process, as well.
"The defense feels that the more issues it has before the court, the greater their opportunities to have the initial decision in the Charlottesville Circuit Court reversed," Goodman said.
The defense said a handful of jurors should not have decided Huguely's fate due to potential bias expressed during the jury selection process. They pointed out two jurors in particular, both of whom are UVa. employees, who hinted that they might not be able to maintain an objective stance in the trial.
Clement also argued in front of appellate judges Larry Elder, William Petty and Stephen McCullough that the jury was given an unclear definition on the meaning of "malice," which could have led to their guilty verdict of murder instead of the lesser manslaughter charge.
The panel of judges will review written arguments from Huguely's lawyers before making a decision, which could take several weeks.
Goodman said that should further appeals be denied and, ultimately, Huguely isn't granted a new trial by the Court of Appeals, the defense team can use that as grounds for an appeal to the Virginia Supreme Court.
In all, the process could take as many as two years.
George Huguely was convicted in 2010 of second-degree murder of UVa lacrosse player Yeardley Love. He is serving a 23-year prison sentence.