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Tue Sep 14, 2021, 08:16 PM

George Huguely appeal denied in 4th Circuit

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George Huguely appeal denied in 4th Circuit

The former U.Va. lacrosse player will continue to serve his 23-year sentence until his scheduled release in 2030

By Lexi Baker
September 14, 2021

George Huguely was denied his most recent attempt at appeal by the federal 4th Circuit Court of Appeals last month. Huguely, a former Virginia men’s lacrosse player, was charged with killing Virginia women’s lacrosse player Yeardley Love in May 2010.

Huguely was first found guilty of second-degree murder and grand larceny in February 2012 and was sentenced to 23 years in prison later that year. He remains at the State Farm Entreprise Unit in Powhatan County and is scheduled to be released in 2030.

Huguely has made several previous attempts at appeal — his case went before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015, where his petition to overturn his conviction was denied.

In March, Huguely was denied a petition for writ of habeas corpus and a certificate of appealability by U.S. District Judge Thomas Cullen in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia. The writ alleged that Huguely’s right to a free and fair trial had been violated when one of Huguely’s attorneys fell ill. Huguely had requested that the trial not go forward, but his request was denied.

A writ of habeas corpus is a court order used to bring a prisoner before the court to determine if the person’s imprisonment is lawful and valid. This would have been a chance for the court to determine the validity of Huguely’s detention.

With the denial from the district court, Huguely made his next appeal to the federal Court of Appeals. Earlier this month, three judges from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals denied his attempt at appealing the previous decision made by Cullen.

The order denied by Cullen is not appealable unless a circuit judge issues a certificate of appealability. This certificate is required and is only issued if there is a “substantial showing of the denial of a constitutional right,” according to 28 U.S.C. § 2253(c)(2).

The judges issued an oral argument after they did not find evidence sufficient to approve a certificate of appealability. Huguely would have needed to prove that the denial from the district court was debatable and that his petition had a debatable claim that a constitutional right was denied.

With the ruling, Huguely has exhausted most possibilities of serving a shorter sentence.

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