An attorney for the one-time University of Virginia lacrosse player who was convicted last year of killing his former girlfriend, Yeardley Love of Cockeysville, argued Wednesday that he should get a new trial.
Attorney Paul Clement told the Virginia Court of Appeals in Richmond that George Huguely V, now 26, was effectively denied the right to counsel during his trial because one of his lawyers became ill and could not appear in court to question witnesses.
Despite the illness, the trial judge allowed the trial to proceed. Huguely, of Chevy Chase, was convicted and sentenced to 23 years in prison for killing Love, who like him was a varsity lacrosse player at the university.
The three-judge appeals panel heard arguments for 50 minutes. It was unclear when they might rule.
Love's mother, Sharon, told The Baltimore Sun on Wednesday that she thinks the verdict and sentence should stand. "I felt like they did everything by the book," Sharon Love said. "It didn't seem like there was anything that would warrant a new trial."
Yeardley Love, an alumna of Notre Dame Preparatory School in Towson, was weeks away from graduation at the University of Virginia in May 2010 when she was found dead in her off-campus apartment. Huguely, who admitted to police that he broke into Love's bedroom and fought with her, was found guilty of second-degree murder.
Since Love's death, her family has been outspoken about the dangers of relationship violence. Sharon Love, who last year retired as a tutor and interpreter for deaf students in Baltimore City public schools, has devoted much of her time to the One Love Foundation that she and her elder daughter, Lexie, started.
The foundation, which takes its name from Yeardley Love's uniform number, "has been growing by leaps and bounds," Sharon Love said.
The foundation has developed a smartphone and online app that assesses a user's risk for becoming victimized and can connect her or him to a hotline for help.
On Wednesday, Sharon Love said, she was interviewed by a Canadian broadcaster because police in that country have begun using the app as part of their efforts in combating domestic violence.
In Richmond, Huguely's attorney argued that his client's Sixth Amendment right to the counsel of his choice was violated during the 2012 trial in Charlottesville.
Huguely objected at the time to his trial's going forward after one of his attorneys, Rhonda Quagliana, stayed home with a stomach ailment.
The judge allowed the trial to proceed with Huguely's other attorney, Francis McQ. Lawrence, continuing the questioning of witnesses until Quagliana returned.
Leah Darron, a senior Virginia assistant attorney general, told the appeals judges that Lawrence never mentioned during the trial that his client's right to choose his own attorney was being violated but said he was prepared to take over the questioning.
Clement told the court that Huguely retained the right to raise the Sixth Amendment issues.
"It was not the right of the retained attorney to give it away," Clement said.
Reuters contributed to this article.
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