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Sketches of Two Great Lawyers

Harvard and Stanford constitutional expert Kathleen Sullivan made a brilliant argument in the Supreme Court today and ceded no quarter. When asked by Justice Breyer if Blackbeard would have been protected by incorporating Pirates, Inc., she replied, “yes, the corporation would not be liable.” SC120228_Sullivan

Stanford Law professor Jeffrey Fisher had a harder time of it – and the harder argument – trying to persuade a skeptical Court that the word “individuals” in the Torture Victim Protection Act could refer to organizations, and not just human beings. SC120228_Fisher

You can read Lyle Denniston’s analysis here.


Huguely Verdict and Sentencing

A Charlottesville jury last night found George Huguely guilty of second-degree murder and one count of grand larceny. After hearing testimony from Yeardley Love’s mother and sister, and arguments from lawyers the jury recommended a prison term of 26 years on the murder charge and one year for the larceny. Huguely20223_head

WaPo story here.


A Bad Day for the Defense

The final day of trial was pretty much a disaster for George Huguely. While his lawyer, Rhonda Quagliana, who had been ill and MIA for the past two days had returned to court, she still looked a little green. Huguely120218_Rhonda
It didn’t help that the prosecution had discovered that this same lawyer had improperly briefed her witnesses on the testimony of the Commonwealth’s witness. Huguely120218_ChapmanHuguely120218_witnessHuguely120218_UsinskyHuguely120218_defense

My guess is that the plan was for the defense’s closing to be delivered by Quagliana, but because she was still on the verge of nausea her partner, Francis McQ. Lawrence had to step in and wing it. Huguely120218_Lawrence
His arguing long and rambling, while prosecutor Chapman’s was powerful and emotional. Huguely120218_juryHuguely120218_familyHuguely120218_doorHuguely120218_Lexie

The jury will begin deliberations on Wednesday.

Lawyer’s Illness Delays Huguely Trial

One of George Huguely’s lawyer was absent for the second day due to “projectile vomit illness”. No testimony was heard yesterday, and today Huguely objected to moving forward without both of his attorneys present. Huguely120217wide
His other attorney, Francis McQ. Lawrence, said to the judge, “Mr. Huguely told me, ‘I don’t feel comfortable. I don’t feel protected'”. But Judge Hogshire told the defense to move foward, and several non-expert witnesses were called.Huguely120217_Wannamaker

The judge seems determined to finish with testimony in the case on Saturday, and if possible have closing arguments and jury instructions as well.

It could well go late into the night.

WaPo story here.