Huguely: Love’s Death Coincidental

If you haven’t yet had your daily dose of eyeball-popping rage, this will be the perfect thing for you: George Huguely’s defense is that Yeardly Love just happened to die while he was bludgeoning her, as a result of her Adderall prescription, Lisa Provence writes for The Hook. The medical examiner determined that Love died from blunt force trauma to the head, but Huguely’s attorney, Fran Lawrence, insists that her cause of death is unknown, so it may well have been that the Adderall in her system meant that she was highly vulnerable to a fatal cardiac event.

The goal here is presumably to establish doubt in the mind of an eventual jury—potentially the difference between life in prison and a decade.

15 thoughts on “Huguely: Love’s Death Coincidental”

  1. At this rate, by the time the trial rolls around (if ever), George will be the “victim” in this sorry caper.

  2. Sigh. I guess, from the perspective of Huguely, his family, and his defense team, this is how you play this game. You rearrange the cards as best you can and go out with the strongest hand you feel you’ve got. I wish our system of criminal defense focused more on making sure that (A) a defendant’s rights are respected and less on (B) inventing semi-plausible alternative scenarios that exist purely to confuse and distract a jury just enough to avoid a conviction. Me, I see a distinction between A and B. I wonder if the Huguely’s actually believe that George is NOT responsible for Yeardley’s death.

  3. I think George’s lawyers are likely to die from an overdose of the crack they’ve been smoking lately.

    I could be wrong.

    Maybe they’ve been doing LSD and rum punch.

    OR, they could be just clinically insane and forgetting to take their meds.

    This defense HAS to be induced from something–no one in their right mind would believe it, and only the Clown Prince of La-La Land would propose it.

  4. I recall similar reactions when O J Simpson’s defense team started floating their strategy.

    Unfortunately, things like this too often work.

  5. Yeah, I’m with Barbara…I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see a jury waver on a straight-up murder conviction (or whatever charges he faces). All they have to do is convince the jury that it’s medically possible that that the Adderall contributed significantly to the fatal cardiac event, and that without the Adderall she would merely have been brutally injured and perhaps impaired for life, but not dead…(I’m using “merely” sarcastically, of course). They’re trying to dilute the sense of Huguely’s culpability by emphasizing some “contributing” factors. I won’t be surprised to hear that they’re also trying to make something out of the level of alcohol in her blood, and it sounds like they’re also going to suggest that the EMT’s efforts to resuscitate her contributed to the overall damage her body sustained. If the jury can be convinced that there’s any gray area at all in regards to the extent of Huguely’s culpability, they’ll back down from the most serious charges.

  6. Or maybe he was just trying to wake her up by banging her head against the wall.

    Yeah, it’s creepy what defense attorneys need to do for their clients. For the five minutes that I considered going to law school, I knew that I would be drawn to defense over prosecution, but this is the kind of thing that kept me far, far away.

  7. Cochran
    …ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, I have one final thing I want you to consider. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Chewbacca. Chewbacca is a Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk. But Chewbacca lives on the planet Endor. Now think about it; that does not make sense!

    Gerald Broflovski
    Damn it!… He’s using the Chewbacca defense!

    Why would a Wookiee, an eight-foot tall Wookiee, want to live on Endor, with a bunch of two-foot tall Ewoks? That does not make sense! But more important, you have to ask yourself: What does this have to do with this case? Nothing. Ladies and gentlemen, it has nothing to do with this case! It does not make sense! Look at me. I’m a lawyer defending a major record company, and I’m talkin’ about Chewbacca! Does that make sense? Ladies and gentlemen, I am not making any sense! None of this makes sense! And so you have to remember, when you’re in that jury room deliberatin’ and conjugatin’ the Emancipation Proclamation, does it make sense? No! Ladies and gentlemen of this supposed jury, it does not make sense! If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit! The defense rests.

  8. When we begin combining the Chewbacca defense with the Twinkie defense I’ll be moving to Endor myself…

  9. @Cecil – I submit that in fact, “B” is precisely what “A” looks like in our adversarial legal system wherein advocates for two sides put up the most vigorous arguments possible.

    If a plausible scenario exists wherein even without Georgie’s help, the adderall and alcohol would result in Love’s death, then it ought to be put out there for a jury to consider. It’s a bit like this: if person A shoots person B, and person B manages to stagger out into the street where person C, rolling through a stop sign at a right hand turn hits them with a car, who is the murderer? The last person to make contact? Or try this: I’m a suicidal nutjob who needs serious therapy and probably institutionalization…my girlfriend recognizes this and dumps me (smart move on her part) and to “get even” I take a dose of pills and then go assault her, later dying on her couch.

    I’m not saying Georgie isn’t the cause of her death – and not just the proximate cause – but I’m saying that oddball scenarios have to be considered.

    What’s unfair and sucks about our system is that Georgie gets to exercise his legal rights and defense rather vigorously since his family can afford an army of lawyers to go digging into Love’s medical records, hiring expert witnesses and the rest of the costs of presenting alternate-universe theories…and anyone stuck with a Public Defender pretty much gets a short-circuited trial – an easy conviction for a prosecutor in exchange for dropping a few BS add-on charges designed to do nothing but tack on years (run up the score) – added solely as bargaining chips.

    Weren’t we just discussing Anatole France? “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.” The legal system, like most things, looks very different depending on how deep your pockets are.

  10. Scott, I’m sure we pretty much agree on the shape of our adversarial legal system and I do understand the responsibility of a defense attorney to present the most aggressive defense s/he can (since, after all, the prosecution is doing the same thing). I know that if I or a beloved friend/family member needed a legal defense, I would certainly want an aggressive defense. My problem, or my scruple, though, is this: I feel like there’s a difference between saying “this is what really happened” and having evidence to support that scenario and really believing that that’s what happened, as distinct from saying “hey, here’s something that could have happened (snicker snicker, we don’t actually believe it ourselves but we think you dummies might if we can pay enough “expert” witnesses to sound impressive on the stand).” You write that “oddball scenarios have to be considered,” but I would prefer that the truth be the only thing considered.

    I know, I know: how incredibly naive, and what is “truth” anyway. But there it is. I’m trying to teach my kids that if they do something wrong, the only right thing to do is to admit it, take responsibility for it, and be ready for the consequences. I’m not teaching them to develop alternative scenarios that minimize their role in the incident. And yet, there’s our legal system.

    To further complicate matters, there’s a part of me that sympathizes with a (rich) defendant’s efforts to get off by any means necessary, because I do think that our prison system is even more messed up than our legal system. If it were my loved one on trial and I knew that my loved one was culpable, I might be able to handle the thought of incarceration if I thought that incarceration was in any way redemptive or rehabilitative. Since I think it’s not — since I think it’s pretty much a horrible abusive system that ends up making everyone involved with it even more horrible and messed up — I can begin to sympathize with someone who focuses exclusively on trying to get off, not on owning up.

    As a final point, I do always chime in in agreement with complaints that rich defendants get away with things that poor defendants cannot, and I usually agree that this is unfair for the poor defendants. But then I think about defendants like Ricky Javon Gray, one of the guys who killed the entire Harvey family in Richmond on New Year’s Day two years ago. Do I wish he had had a rich lawyer who could have argued some implausible scenario so he could have gotten off more lightly? No. I’m not sure exactly what I do want. I guess want for no one to do brutal stupid selfish crimes. Is that so much to ask???

  11. The only reason Huguely gets any real time is because it’s another UVA student that he killed. Can’t have that.

    Now if he’d just killed a townie, well then he’d only get 3 years.

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