Court halts Huguely appeal

Judge says defendant's Sixth Amendment rights not violated


A Virginia Court of Appeals affirmed the second-degree murder conviction of former University student and varsity lacrosse player George Huguely Tuesday. In 2012, Huguely was found guilty in the 2010 murder of fellow University student Yeardley Love.

Huguely, who was sentenced to 23 years in prison in Aug. 2012, contended that his Sixth Amendment rights were violated in his initial trial.

In a 34-page decision, Judge Randolph Beales rejected the arguments made by Huguely and his defense.

Huguely claimed denial of his right to his preferred council when one member of his legal team, Rhonda Quagliana, fell ill and was not present for two days of the trial.

“The Sixth Amendment does not impose an absolute requirement, when a defendant is represented by two or more retained attorneys, that a jury trial must completely grind to a halt, as a matter of constitutional law, simply because one of the defendant’s retained attorneys has become ill,” Beales said in the decision.

Huguely and his legal team also questioned the impartiality of the jurors, claiming his legal team was not allowed to ask certain questions that would ensure a fair jury.

The largest example of this error, Huguely contends, is in the case of Juror 32, who indicated in a questionnaire to have been influenced by media reports and other conversations.

“However, that does not tell the entire story,” Beales said in the decision. “Juror 32 also wrote by hand, ‘Do have an open mind!’ … [and] made several statements supporting a
finding that she could be an impartial juror with an open mind.”

The attorney general’s office released a state Tuesday saying it is pleased with the decision on the appeal.

Sharon and Lexie Love, Yeardley’s mother and sister, also released a statement Tuesday, giving their thanks to those who have supported them.

“We are relieved and ready to put this chapter behind us so that we can devote our full efforts toward building the One Love Foundation, and continue to raise awareness about Relationship Violence,” they said in their statement.

The One Love Foundation was established in 2010 by Sharon and Lexie Love in honor of Yeardley Love to educate young people in the hopes of ending relationship violence.

Huguely will seek further legal options in an attempt to reverse the conviction, according to a statement from his mother, Marta Murphy.

“We continue in our love and support for George, and our lawyers are evaluating all options to get him a fair trial,” she said.

Published March 5, 2014 in FP test, News

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