Jump to Navigation

Virginia jury reduces murder charge against lacrosse player

Juries in the state of Virginia are given certain responsibilities, including deciding whether a defendant should be convicted. In many cases, a jury must also provide sentencing recommendations. Recently, in a highly publicized murder case involving a Virginia lacrosse player, the jury found the defendant guilty of a lesser charge and recommended an average-length sentence. Though the young man was charged with first-degree murder, the jury decided that he was only guilty of second-degree murder because it was determined that he did not kill with a premeditated plan or purpose.

The jury also found the defendant guilty of grand larceny. According to the state of Virginia, the charge of grand larceny is reserved for cases in which an item that is said to be stolen is valued at $200 or more. The defendant in this case was found guilty of taking the victim's laptop computer after her death. However, if an item is stolen directly off another's person, the property value must only exceed $5 for the charge of grand larceny to be filed. Since the laptop was valued at over $200, the defendant was charged with grand larceny.

Sentencing guidelines dictate that a second-degree murder conviction in Virginia must carry five to 40 years in prison. The recommended sentence for larceny is one to 20 years. While the jury in the case of the lacrosse player reportedly recommended the minimum one-year sentence for the larceny charge, along with a middle-of-the-road sentence of 25 years for the murder charge, the presiding judge is not obligated to follow the jury's recommendation. Attorneys for both the defense and prosecution will appear in court on April 16 to try to influence the judge's sentencing.

Ensuring due process and enforcing the letter of the law is the job of criminal defense attorneys. Though a not-guilty verdict is not always possible, the significant reduction of charges and sentencing can be its own kind of saving victory for many defendants.

Source: sbnation.com, "George Huguely found guilty: prison sentence to follow," David Fucillo, Feb. 22, 2012

Source: sbnation.com, "George Huguely trial: jury recommends 25-year sentence for murder charge," Russ Oates, Feb. 23, 2012

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Quick Case Evaluation Form

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

Visit Our Criminal Law Website Subscribe to This Blog's Feed Office Location

A. Mark Nicewicz, Esq., can put his 25 years of legal experience to work for you.

Toll Free: (877) 638-8960
Phone: (703) 763-0945
Fax: (703) 281-6385
2915 Hunter Mill Rd.
Suite 17
Oakton, VA 22124
E-mail | Map & Directions