The appeal of former University student George Huguely V, who was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend Yeardley Love in May 2012, also a University student at the time, went before the Virginia Supreme Court this week. The Court received the initial petition in April and the court record in June. A hearing was scheduled this week to determine whether the Court would hear the appeal.
Huguely and Love both played varsity lacrosse at the University. In early March of this year, the Virginia Court of Appeals affirmed his second-degree murder conviction and refused to hold a rehearing of his appeal. His lawyers claimed there were a series of errors during his trial and asked for a full review of the case.
Now the case has gone before a panel of Virginia Supreme Court Justices, who will decide whether or not to grant a writ of appeal. Doug Robelen, chief deputy clerk of the Virginia Supreme Court, said the court usually takes three to five months after the appeals court record is received to decide whether to hear the appeal.
“We didn't get the record from the Court of Appeals until June 12,” Robelen said. “So three to five months from June 12 would be a ballpark.”
If the court grants the appeal, it will schedule the case for oral arguments in the coming months. Leslie Smith, a Virginia Supreme Court deputy law clerk, said, if the Court denies the writ, Huguely can file a petition for a rehearing within 14 days of the decision.
“If a petition for rehearing is denied or none is filed, then the case will be done for the purposes of the Virginia Supreme Court,” Smith said. “It can be appealed to the United States Supreme Court, which has its own procedure.”
Robelen said the Court grants only a small portion of the many petitions each session. More than 70 cases had been appealed and were pending review during the October 2014 writ panels.
“In terms of statistics, a minority of appeals are granted,” Robelen said. “I have no idea if the court will grant this petition.”
Attorneys Paul Clement and Frances Lawrence are representing Huguely as the appellant. Both declined to comment.