Huguely v. Clarke

Full title: GEORGE WESLEY HUGUELY V, Petitioner, v. HAROLD W. CLARKE, Respondent.

Court: UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA ROANOKE DIVISION

Date published: Dec 21, 2020

Facts

In 2012, a Charlottesville jury convicted George Huguely of murdering his former girlfriend and fellow University of Virginia student, Yeardley Love, during a violent altercation. Although the prosecutor and Huguely’s defense team presented different theories at trial about that altercation and the cause of Love’s death, much of the evidence was not in dispute. The parties, for instance, agreed that on May 2, 2010, at approximately 11:45 p.m., Huguely—who had been drinking since early in the morning and was significantly intoxicated—walked to Love’s nearby apartment and entered through the unlocked front door. None of Love’s roommates were present when Huguely arrived, and Love was asleep in her bedroom. Finding the door to Love’s bedroom locked, Huguely kicked a hole through the lower paneling, reached in, and opened it. By the time Huguely had forced his way into her bedroom, Love was awake.

Issue

Decision

Because the state court’s decision to deny relief on Huguely’s dictionary claim without an evidentiary hearing was an unreasonable determination of the facts before it, this court will hold an evidentiary hearing on that sole issue so that Huguely may attempt to demonstrate prejudice. The remainder of Huguely’s claims, however, are either procedurally defaulted or lack merit. On those claims, the director’s motion to dismiss will be granted.

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