Not blunt force: Defense continues theme, as email angers judge

Rhonda Quagliana's first day back in court in the George Huguely trial after being ill for two days got off to a rocky start when she was accused of disclosing the testimony of prosecution witnesses to a defense expert.

Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Chapman called the emails a "systemic violation of the rules" and said he'd just become aware of them today. Defense attorney Fran Lawrence contended the missives were sent with "no consciousness of wrongdoing," and were "perfectly curable."

Before the jury was brought in, Chapman questioned Dr. Ronald Uscinski, a Chevy Chase neurosurgeon, about four emails between Quagliana, Uscinski and fellow defense witnesses Dr. Jack Daniel and Dr. Jan Leestma on February 10 and February 14.

Uscinski said he didn't recall the emails, but he did acknowledge responding to one on February 14. He said he wasn't going to testify about CPR damage to the brain or reperfusion– tissue damages that occurs when blood returns after oxygen has been deprived– referred to in the email.

"This is very troublesome," Judge Edward Hogshire scolded. "I wouldn't have expected this from counsel."

He denied Chapman's motion to strike Uscinski as a witness, but said he would not allow Uscinski to testify about brain damage brought about from CPR.

To Hook legal expert David Heilberg, it's obvious Quagliana and Lawrence realized the mistake and self-disclosed to Chapman. "That's completely in line with what I know about Fran and Rhonda," says Heilberg. "Their integrity is more important than the mistake."

With Quagliana's illness and fatigue from preparing for a case that's drawn national attention, mistakes happen, says Heilberg. "I have no doubt, as Fran Lawrence stated, that Rhonda Quagliana's lapse was unintentional."

As for what was disclosed to Uscinski, observes Heilberg, "No harm, no foul."  

By 11:15 am, the jury was finally brought into the courtroom for the Saturday continuation of a trial that's now exceeded two weeks. And Quagliana, reportedly suffering from projectile vomiting earlier, referred to photos of Love's brain and questioned her witness about brain injuries.

Uscinski produced examples of brain contusions resulting from trauma and he said the several little pinpoints of hemorrhages at the base of Yeardley Love's brain were not consistent with blunt force trauma. One reason is that area is so well protected, and there was no evidence of fracture and major bleeding.

Quagliana also asked whether Love's brain injury could have been caused by torquing. "You'd expect to see big time hemorrhaging," said Uscinski. "You just don't see that."

Under cross examination, Chapman brought out a book by Leestma that he'd earlier used when challenging Leestma's testimony. An increasingly testy Chapman picked a photo he said was of a swimmer who got hit by a speedboat that did not have the gross damage found in Uscinski's photos.

"It doesn't look anything like the pictures you showed," said Chapman.

"It does," replied Uscinski. "It looks almost identical."

Chapman showed photos of Love's brain that he said were made to determine the extent of neuron and axion damage. "That's oxygen deprivation, not trauma," insisted Uscinski.

And when the neurosurgeon explained that the heart can keep pumping even if the axions to the brain stem are damaged, Chapman asked, "So she's still lying there now with her heart pumping today?"

After a lunch break, the defense rested shortly after 2pm. Huguely never testified in his own defense.

Updated Feb. 20 with comments from David Heilberg.

This story is a part of the Huguely trial coverage special.
Read more on: huguely


Interesting. Could this blunder cause a mistrial? If George had not taken the computer and feigned an entire blackout of the evening (with bits and pieces to retain credibility) what would he have been charged with?

I think if you average the two you get $200. The jury has what they need if they want it.

Wow, I was surprised they finished so quickly. We could know something today?!

Done today? Are you kidding me? How was this any kind of defense?

The outcome of this trial might not be known for another 6 months. All it takes is one juror to hang this trial. Then they have to start over with a new trial.

Good question, Hook Reader. The defense will appeal automatically unless GH V is completely cleared of all charges. However, the Fran Lawrence implored the jury to find him guilty of involuntary manslaughter in his opening, so such a finding should be acceptable to the defense. I'm not sure if this mistake lends any credence to the appeal or not, but it proves "money can't buy everything."

Because Judge Hogshire limited the testimony which from what is written here, Uscinski wasn't going to testify to anyway - there is no reason for a mistrail which would be brought up by the defense. I think it is interesting that the Commonwealth's expert witness that described reperfusion– tissue damages that occurs when blood returns after oxygen has been deprived, has not been disputed.

Nor was there one witness brought in by the defense which truly stated that YL died of the drugs in her system. At least from what I am understanding from what has been reported.

We wait - and Gasbag, I so hope there isn't a hung jury on this! Get this thing over and done, please!

Rhonda and projectile vomiting,
now I'm in love.

So isn't the jury going to think-- hmmm.... didn't they mention something about adderall in opening statements and wonder how that just disappeared? Seems like that suggests shoddiness to them
in regards to defense. And if I were paying Quag, I'd sure be disappointed about today's mishap. Lawyers put there, how does this bode for her career?

For all the hype this appears to be a non defense effort for Georgie. Looks like his only hope will be the jury.

@Janis, we shall see on all accounts. As for the whole email thing and how it looks, first she isn't experienced, second email - all of us have had a time where that email didn't go to or went to who it wasn't intended. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, but there have been countless cases blown out there because those involved didn't follow proper procedures or file by curtain dates, etc. This truly didn't have an affect upon the testimony. Wasn't GH4 supposed to take the stand too?

Then I wonder if the defense - already has an appeal up their sleeves? Saving their client money but that is a truly risky thing to do.

Wouldn't we all like to be a fly in that room with the jury? Though I truly think any disputes they have with it all or any questions are what has been raised here.

This is a case that needed no lawyers, either side. Sure he killed her through his intentional acts -- so that puts us at murder or voluntary manslaughter (involuntary could only be if he didn't intend to do that which killed her). From the reports, that doesn't sound like it's really in dispute.

So, we can knock off first degree because of the undisputed level of intoxication, which kills the specific intent for first degree. No lawyering needed but that which is able to present witnesses of drunkenness.

That leaves second degree or voluntary manslaughter, and the evidence will be for the jury -- A) his email (I should have killed you) and lying about his whereabouts and taking and trashing her computer all on the one hand, which suggests second degree murder cause intent to kill, but B) his apparent sincere shock (according to the hook's reports of the tape-recording) at hearing of her death would tend more towards voluntary manslaughter.

Either way, these facts which will decide the case are not dependent on counsel either side, except that they get put into evidence. And sounds like neither side did anything much to alter this outline. So really, up to what type of jury -- second degree or manslaughter.

I have been away from all the articles about the trial since around 12 Midnight. Today went to sleeping in and watching the WH funeral. BTW, very impressive service. I am amazed that the defense has rested without a stronger case. All of this makes me believe that RQ was absent to try and find more defense issues and witnesses. Obviously she came up empty handed. There is a national association of trial (defense) and they have lists of paid, defense favored witnesses. It is well known in legal circles that these paid people are coached by the defense attorneys. The cross from prosecution frequently blows holes in this paid, did I mention PAID, testimony.

I believe that both sides get to make closing statements and I can't tell whether on not they have from what I have read so far.

I don't gamble so I won't guess the outcome. I will, however, stay tuned to see what happens next.

Rhonda needs to be hauled up on charges and perhaps face disbarment proceedings.

SO you think murder 2 or involuntary manslaughter. Any bets on the sentece? I whatever the minium is for murder 2.

Not involuntayr manslaughter -- VOLUNTARY manslaughter (slightly worse)

So Fran can read Quag's mind and tell there was no "consciousness of wrongdoing"? Same defense as for their client. She's been an attorney for years; she needs a reprimand and her "projectile vomiting" investigated. There's medicine for that.
They didn't have to take this case. But they did for the money. And they lied and cheated for their client, at the expense of the victim. VBA, where are you?

Which ever book the choose to throw at Georgie be it 2nd degree or manslaughter it will be the lightest sentence allowed plus credit for time served. The only question left is who will be his next victim.

don't be surprised if he gets the Robert Chambers verdict and sentence...........and then, perhaps, follows the Chambers trail back to jail for 45 years

This is a sad situation for all families involved. GH obviously had a drinking issue and anger issues. Voluntary manslaughter will probably be the appropriate sentence. Unfortunately, there appeared to be no adults around to help any of these young adults deal with serious issues they were facing. The behavior of all involved is out of control. Unfortunately, UVA needs more mentors for these students. There are not enough safeguards and standards for these students. They are just thrown into a scene where partying is a given, and is accepted too readily by the few adults who are involved. These students need more role models. Maybe more volunteer requirements to graduate, so they can experience the real world and keep their lives in perspective.
As a UVA graduate, I felt this was an integral part of my college experience that was missing. Students need more safeguards as they navigate from their teenage years to adulthood. Many of these students come from broken homes, single parent homes, and homes with drinking issues.Unfortunately, this is the world we currently live in, UVA needs to find ways to adjust.

Ironic how many of todays "young adults" needing apparent supervision are the same age as many who stormed the beaches of Normandy.

@perspective - So totally agreed!!!

@Betty - Rhonda needs to be hauled up on charges and perhaps face disbarment proceedings. - while I agree, she's married to a judge and it will never happen.

@jimi hendrix, there are those of us who may not have stormed the beaches of Normandy but did other things of equal value. It is all in the way children are raised these days. We have a generation (and more) of these kids who are raised as "entitled" and believe the world should take care of them when a generation prior we knew we had to pull ourselves up from our own boot straps and do what we had to do to make it in the world. After about half of Gen-X and after are just like this if their parents do not raise them better.

I have a child in elementary school and I see about 80% of children have this issue, and their parents are no better.

Not blaming this whole thing on their parents, just it was a start of the fuse here that just kept going through one charge after another.

The maximum sentence for manslaughter in Virginia is 10 years. GH5 has served 2 and 2nd Degree murder is no less than 5 years and no more than 40. Virginia has in law a mandate of 2/3 of a sentence must be served so he will have to serve a total of 6 years and 7 months for manslaughter if given 10 years with 2 years already served he will be out in about 5 years at the age of 29. If given 40 years he will have to serve 36, which he will get out at the age of about 56.

Of course, they may tack on the other charges too which will add a few more years to the sentence.

Perhaps he will use his time to work on his issues, perhaps he will only get worse, time will tell. The thing of this all is Ms. Love no longer has a life to live, he does.

Rhonda's guilty alright. Guilty of being hawht!

Anyone that thinks Rhonda is hot has been living in Charlottesville too long. Kudos to the judge for getting this trial done in 2 weeks. Time will tell if the jury deserves similar kudos.

Banginbill? Hawht? So a comment from Bill her supportive spouse maybe? Sounds like the kind of classy name he might use.

Did I miss something. You all are commenting as if this has gone to the jury. This would not be the end. There could be rebuttal and then closing statements are needed.

This is not a generational thing...when the books com out I think the fascinating character will be George IV and his miserable failings...and he is 57ish. Alas, GV had one temper tantrum too many and killed his girlfriend. As stated in one of the posts above, this is all about the jury now.

Katherine, why are you saying adults failed them? Save for the small detail of the murder, George was a smart, polite, driven, over acheiving young man. Certainly those attributes were encouraged by adults somewhere along the way! Hate to say it but there are a lot of 22 year old MEN and WOMEN out in the world who had no where near the parent involvement these 2 so called "kids" had in their lives and are held far more accountabe for their actions. I am sorry to have to say Yeadley was responsible for her drinking but she was. In no way am I implying she had any culpability in her death.

I'm sorry to say that was the worst defense team! I guess they took GH's family's money and ran.
I feel sorry for the boy. He had too many people in his life that knew he was spiraling out of control and not one person confronted him. I guess because they were usually drunk at the same time.
God Bless Yeardley she's with her Daddy now.

Yeardley Love's Daddy should have run the THING down and killed him long ago. If he dosen't care, why should anybody else? Just cut Hugeley's balls off and forget about it. You'll never heard another peep out of him if you do that NOW.

You have a valid and very uncomfortable point. We tend to say "college kids". This case has opened pandora's box on a litany of issues. Unless the jurors are clones of the the Casy Anothony jurors I think we can expect 2nd degree murder.

Percy, Yeardly Love's father died of cancer while she was in high school.

I think it is a take it and run fabrication of the press and masses that the Huguely family is "loaded" it will sell books though.

PARENTS , SAFEGUARDS AND MENTORS? I guess we should send parents off to war with their kids? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? WHERE ARE THE PARENTS WHEN KIDS ARE BEING BLOWN TO BITS IN WAR? Lets just pretend George is a poor black kid and Yeardly a redneck and then who will be blame??? We will blame George the poor black kid and his redneck girlfriend. GET OVER THE BLAMING OF OTHERS and send George to prison. ENOUGH SAID.
There is no pandora's box. That is white america speak for ONE OF OUR OWN IMMATURE KIDS got in trouble.

Percy - don't u mean "electra"?
I"m baaack - calm down buddy. Its all good.
Prayers - Did it go to the jury?

@ jimi hendrix "Ironic how many of todays "young adults" needing apparent supervision are the same age as many who stormed the beaches of Normandy."

While I don't disagree with your observation about today's immature adults, I do disagree that your observation qualifies as being "ironic." Irony is when the outcome of something winds up being completely opposite of what was intended. Immature adults in the post-2000s world is not an unintended consequence of the Normandy invasion. The two have nothing to do with each other, and therefore no ironic connection.

@ meanwhile: "Anyone that thinks Rhonda is hot has been living in Charlottesville too long."

THANK YOU. I've been shaking my head at the pathetic weirdos who apparently sit around drooling over this chick. It really is like they've never been outside of Cville in their entire lives. I've lived around the country and trust me, this chick wouldn't get a second look elsewhere.

Charlottesville is filled to the brim with the same type of pale skinned, brown haired, thin lipped, boring makeup-less Plain Janes who don't know how to dress and usually wear the most hideous shoes to boot. They're all clones of each other.

Ok. First of all plenty of kids drink. I'm not saying that this is a good thing, but it is true. How many of these kids bash their girlfriend's head in? ONE and his name is George hugely? Yeardley was a sweet,innocent little girl and George (or Alina should we call him Georgie- what the heck Alina? Really? You should be ashamed!) intentionally killed her? Out and out bashed her to death and left her to die alone - yes Alina - ALONE! SO SPARE US YOUR ACT!!! YOU HAVE DAUGhTeRS! sOPHiA IS oNE in your little video? He held her hand? WE should have the audio of that right? SHe had too much class to make a scene in front of his Family?
So! Disbar the attorney ! Lock George in the general population until he is no more! The entire Sanson hugely Murphy family is pathetic! Not bad enough your little Georgie killed her - not just killed her_ brutally willfully beat her over and over again and u have the Nerve to call him georgey! NO Alina not bad enough they lost their angel you and your family make her mom and sister relive every horrible HOrRIble moment. You will answer to God one day. George admitted he killed her. How do you sleep at night? You r sick- the whole lot of u!

It is going to be a long 3 days or more before a verdict. To those posting who know the Love family, I hope you can help them get through this difficult time. Having been through a situation involving the death of a child (not mine, tho), I can testify from first-hand observation that vitriol is not going to help anyone but keeping some perspective might help some.

I am not sure how much the video of Ms. Love and the defendant just 24+ hours before she dies shows, but I think this was a gathering of the boys team and their families. If I am correct, Ms. Love, wouldn't have to be there, so there is some significance to me that she was voluntarily friendly with the defendant. If I am wrong, and it was a joint team party, I withdraw this comment.

The use of a pet name by the aunt was unfortunate for the defense, IMO, but I doubt it was intended to be disrespectful to the Loves. As much as folks here like to belittle the Roman numerals after the Hughely men's names, when you have multiple men in a family with the same first name, those within the family have to differentiate them somehow. Sometimes that results in childish nicknames surviving into adulthood. I'll agree it sounded bad, but the snarky columns written about it today were over the top. See, e.g., Washington Post p.2.

Whatever George Huguely gets convicted for (second degree murder seems most likely from what unfolded at trial), it won't be the result of his legal defense. The entire 3 ring circus resulted from Mr. Huguely's serious homicidal misconduct. Family dysfunction and failed intervention were secondary contributing factors but experienced criminal defense attorneys see their clients in these situations almost every day. These antecedents are no more than unsurprising explanations for every kind of criminal activity but these are never legal or moral excuses for misbehavior. It's rare that all of these predictive factors coalesce into such a dangerous mix that homicide is the result. This killing was far from inevitable because of what led up to it. It occurred because George Huguely lost control of himself.

Case outcomes, whether more harsh or lenient than expected, are influenced by a defendant's original bad behavior more than any reason including the work of capable and experienced attorneys. The next time any attorney perfectly defends a case will be the first time this has occurred in history anywhere. No doubt, Rhonda Quagliana was seriously ill. Outsiders can't fathom the strain of almost 2 years of steady work culminating in what was likely work days exceeding 12 hours for 6 or 7 days each week during the month before the trial. The prosecution worked equally hard to get ready. During the trial itself, opposing attorneys work on a case for 14, 15 or maybe 16 hours each day with almost every waking moment, when not in the midst of trial, spent getting ready for the next day of trial. The unavoidable fatigue of such a grueling responsibility almost always leads to mistakes. I have no doubt, as Fran Lawrence stated, that Rhonda Quagliana's lapse was unintentional.

Fran Lawrence has been in such combat before. We handled a trial side by side for co-defendants that lasted more than 3 weeks a number of years ago in Federal Court. I respect the quality work of a great number of excellent attorneys I know, but I never worked on a single case in Court with anyone longer than in that jury trial with Mr. Lawrence. My first hand personal experience with him back then left me the highest level of respect that anyone can have for a professional colleague.

Dave Chapman deserves credit too for his obvious preparation and focus to overcome difficulties with his case from beginning to end.

As attorney John Davidson effectively wrote in another thread, nobody likes a criminal defense attorney until you actually need one.

If there is a manslaughter or lenient sentencing verdict, it won't be because Dave Chapman did something wrong. Likewise, a murder conviction and harsh sentence won't be mainly caused by questionable work of defense counsel. The outcome of this case will result more from the jury's judgment about George Huguely's culpability than anything else.

With all due respect, Catherine, college is not mandatory. If students can't uphold a certain level of civility and maturity then expel them. There are many other smart and capable, and mature young adults willing to take their places.

If anything, I think colleges should have more rigorous standards regarding a code of ethics and civil behavior.

@ Weston: You said I think colleges should have more rigorous standards regarding a code of ethics and civil behavior.

Agree. But the dilemma is - who is the watchdog to make sure they do? UVA boasts that they have a strict Honor Code, but for the past few years the kids have debated what "Honor" means. They don't know, can't cpme to an agreement on the definition, and the Administration has never stepped up to the plate to impose an opinion or a bottom line for fear of not receiving donor dollars.

Not surprisingly, Mr. Heilberg's comments above are well-said; readers would be encouraged to give them due consideration.

I agree that it will be a long several days before this is all settled. Even then, it is likely, depending on what the jury returns, that there will be an appeal. Let's all remember the victims in this case, there are many. Perhaps a quiet moment of silence or a brief prayer to the God of your understanding would be most helpful to the Love family.

It is very disturbing to see a member of the bar who by his own admission has a relationship with FMcQL defending him and heaping praise on him. Such obvious self interest is a bit like the College of Cardinals saying the Pope is a good guy! Lawyers always cover for each other in public and stab each other in the back in private. In my opinion, if RQ and FMcQL have a sintilla of integrity they will provide the Charlottesville working press a certified copy of a doctor's note proving RQ's illness. A copy of the note should be published in the Daily Progress, The Hook and C-Ville. Until then, it is clear that something isn't quite right with the Park Street folks. There are tons of lawyer jokes; the real problem is that most lawyers are jokes.

Attacks on RQ's looks are boorish and childish. Let's stick to the matters at hand. Also, what GH5's aunt calls him isn't fair game for verbal attack. I have three III's after my last name and my family calls me Trey. My grandfather was always referred to by his first name and my father by his second name. My son who is the IV is called by his middle name. I hope you get my point.

We need to look forward and not back. We need to find solutions to the problems of excessive drinking at UVA. We need to make it clear that a person who is a student and convicted of a felony is asked to leave UVA. If the University refuses to do this, it would take little effort to to have a member of the Virginia legislature propose a bill to this effect. We need to lay down the law about abuse of any partner. Partner abuse is bullying fueled by alcohol and uncontrolled anger. We need to have an independent and outside person and commission to investigate the culture of the athletic program at UVA and determine what rules and safeguards need to be put in place to insure that this type of behavior will not happen again. UVA is not a private institution. It is a state institution and as such needs to pay much more attention to violations of the law. Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of New York City, cleaned up New York by enforcing all laws. You start with petty crime and suddenly serious crime is on the decline. Drive around the Frat/Sorority row on any weekend evening and check out the underage drinking. Student Affairs at UVA from the top down needs to stop working 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. Check with the leadership of any independent school in the area and find out how many times they have had to send someone to the UVA Hospital Emergency Room to deal with a student from their school who was allowed and encouraged to drink excessively at a UVA party. Too many young folks have died from excessive alcohol consumption.

Well, it's time to get back to watching CNN. Some of the best comedy on TV!

UVAGUProfessor- Outstanding!!!

"Anonymous" Professor:

You are promoting your Fox News agenda without any perspective or much actual experience with college crimes. Lawyer bashing is easy for someone who probably never needed to depend on one in a crisis.

UVA Grounds is nothing like Times Square which was once mainly inhabited by prostitutes, drug addicts, petty thieves and worse. My experience with UVA students, with a few more serious exceptions, mostly involves alcohol status (underage possession) or alcohol abuse offenses, marijuana possession, drunk urinating off balconies (an actual recently charged assault), trespass and other misdemeanors. It is difficult enough to deal with parents for those few underveloped pre-frontal cortex students unlucky enough to be caught. There would be a parental revolt if the police were charged with pursuing an unrealistic and unenforceable zero tolerance policy for immature college students who almost always overcome their mainly predictable mistakes.

The University more than adequately disciplines its students when misconduct is brought to the administration's attention. This is reputedly the first homicide of one student by another in the entire history of the institution. That is a major reason that it is so newsworthy. UVA appropriately started a requirement that any student arrested for any reason must report this to UVA within 72 hours. Failure to do so is an Honor violation that will result in expulsion. If this policy had been in place when Huguely was arrested and convicted in Lexington for obnoxiously resisting arrest by a police officer there, the killing of Yeardley Love might never have happened. No attorneys are needed in UVA's internal disciplinary process.

The last thing we need is more laws to enforce morality because, ironically, more crimes or regulations (which most who claim to be conservative aren't in favor of) just requires people who prefer not to meet someone like me (which includes most everyone including you) to swallow your pride and ask for help. More laws will only result in more lawyers for you to complain about.

One of the best things about sending a child to UVa is the Student Affairs Department. Having had experience with a state university in another state that also has a party-school reputation, I am very pleased with Student Affairs' approach to student behavior and discipline. They absolutely are not a "nanny" organization; but they are by no means a 9 to 5 operation. Maybe they were in Prof's day, but that is certainly not the case now. They believe part of college is learning how handle to one's "extracurricular life," including alcohol use. Honestly, if as a parent you want a college watching over your child day and night playing "gotcha" on such issues, don't send them to Charlottesville. From reports I hear, alcohol use at UVa is not much different than many of the other state and private schools in the Commonwealth, with the exception of Liberty and William & Mary, and maybe some other small schools.

Currently, each semester students are required to certify whether they have been arrested. It is a simple yes or no on their UVa computer log in. Lying on that question is an Honor offense. Athlete have an additional obligation -- that is to report an arrest to their coach within 24 hours of the incident. That rule has been in place since 2004, but I suspect it has received additional emphasis of late. . . .

To the "Lawyer" Heilberg,

My initial response to your rambling rant would normally have been to tell you that some fool wrote a rant and signed your name. I question whether you are who you say you are. I've never heard of you. I have had a home in the area since 1972 and have never needed a criminal lawyer. If I did, I would engage one from a firm in DC. I attended Georgetown University Law School for a year after distinguished service in the Air Force. I have dozens of law school classmates who practice with major firms in DC. I left law school to finish a doctorate; I didn't like the cutthroat environment at law school. Just for the record, I have taught at UVA, Georgetown, Harvard, Dartmouth and Stanford. I have worked as counsel to Governors, Senators, Congressman, Mayors and many, many other leaders in this country and abroad. I am a sought after political consultant. I have, as may know, a constitutional right to express an opinion. Several of your ranting responses indicate that you did not read my post very carefully.

I know exactly what Mayor Giuliani did in New York. I was there. I know little about the 42nd Street area as I spent little time in that part of town except to attend Broadway plays. If I was in that part of town, I was in a hired vehicle and dropped off, picked up and driven back to my east side apartment and/or office. You seem to have first hand knowledge of the area.

The issue isn't the magnitude of the crime, but rather the idea that the University enforce existing local, state and federal laws. There are dozens of places around the country where cities, counties and other governmental jurisdictions have moved to strict enforcement of all laws. There was, in all cases of which I am aware. a drop in more serious crime. Your citation of petty offences calls into question your attitude which sounds as if you are defending the University and willing to gloss over behavior of the genre that led to this horrible incident. I am not suggesting the police in Cville enforce any of these laws. I am suggesting that those charged with Student Affairs from the President down need to be aware and engaged in controlling and managing these behaviors.

Ad hominum attacks are unattractive under the best of circumstances. Your last paragraph is offensive. Please don't pander about the morality of people whom you have never met. At no time in my post did I suggest any new laws. For the record, my televisions don't work on the Fox channel. I have tried to protect the people I love and my children and grandchildren from right wing fanatics. I watch CNN and am a card carrying liberal democrat and, clearly, not a conservative. Throwing labels at people is the coin of the realm for criminal defense lawyers. Please don't make that mistake with me again. I resent your characterizations. I have served this country as a military officer, a diplomat, an ambassador and as senior staff in several administrations.

I have read all your posts on The Hook articles and feel that you have overstepped ethical bounds by what you have said. Putting lipstick on a pig doesn't change the fact that it is still a pig. Heaven forbid that a juror in this case read what you have written.

Long story short, I have wasted enough time in attempting to acquaint you with the facts of my post. If you wish to argue matters of fact, please only respond to what is written. Attempting to impeach the creditably of others is not appropriate. Stick to the facts! Truth among officers and gentlemen is not relative or situational. I used to think that was a credo of the legal profession. Gosh, another disappointment. Well, back to CNN. Happy Presidents Day!


Mr Heilberg lives in a nether world. Any citizen who's spent any time in this community, or in the real world for that matter, knows that UVA and Cville for that matter, does what it can to protect and project an image of a Utopian campus and city. The facts are there, but its easier to dismiss than to deal.

The premise that students are automatically going to admit to wrong doing when given a choice is at best naive. Of course UVA faculty knows this, thats why the choice is given to begin with. You want to put integrity up for grabs? What are you teaching? Of course the idea of integrity was recently just thrown out the window with the graduation of what else? a law student.

Perspective -- I am curious as to the point of your posts above -- please elaborate.

I can't put my fingers on the reports I have read regarding the exact results of the new reporting policy, but the figures are something like 5 to 600 have self reported "arrests," including for minor traffic violations over 4 semesters since the requirement was put in place. The University follows up on each report to find out the details of the "arrest." Of those reported, the Dean of Students office has found roughly 100 "arrests" to require some additional action by the office. With 13,000+ undergraduates, plus grad students, that number seems creditable to me.

To Professor

Thank you for speaking the truth. UVa has erected a PR shield masquerading as a drug and alcohol policy. Also a convenient liability shield. So many lessons should be emerging from this trial instead of just the demonization of GH.

Thank plaintiffs lawyers and to some extent MADD (via their push for the nationwide, mandatory 21 year-old drinking age), for driving student alcohol consumption off campus, where it is harder for University officials to exert control. Albemarle is right on the liability issue.

Must say I am bemused by many of the locals' comments about the negative impact of UVa on Charlottesville. Since none of us were around in 1819, we can't compare the town before and after the founding of UVa, but having family in the area for many years, and spending much time in Central VIrginia, it is pretty clear to me that without UVa, C'ville would be a lot more like Orange and Madison than the cultural/food/and otherwise vibrant mecca it is today. Colleges bring a lot to otherwise small towns (e.g., Burlington, VT, Athens, GA, Chapel Hill, NC, in addition to C'ville). I guess it is deemed unacceptable to some, that colleges also bring young people, many of whom are still pretty immature and finding their way. That is sort of like those who move near an airport and then complain about the noise . . . . Your option is to move away, if you don't like "the noise."

Just a few observations since the conversation, unfortunately predictably for "The Hook" has deteriorated into bashing what some of you feel is the local Evil Empire. (Although for the life of me it's hard to imagine why you stay in the area when you feel that the malign influence of UVA permeates the place)
Pam - students have always debated what "honor" means at UVA. Forty plus years ago when I was earning my degree the students decided that lying about one's age in order to buy alcohol was not reprehensible enough to be considered an honor violation. I'm not saying that that was a good or bad devision, it's just an example that I happen to recall of the debate that has gone on since the honor code was established. It's not a new thing.
There have been several posts regarding felons at UVA. If someone commits a felony while attending UVA, expelling them from the school shouldn't be a problem, since they're likely to be in jail. If you're arguing to exclude felons from even entering UVA, I'd ask where you expect them to be educated? When a person commits a felony and serves his/her sentence, they don't forfeit the opportunity to be educated at any partuclar state institution.
Last, just my own personal peeve, but it's a waste of time for you to list your many accomplishments on a message board. We have no way of knowing whether you're really an ex professor or just an unemployed 20 something with time on your hands. And even if you did teach at Stanford, etc. it really doesn't add any weight to your message. Let the logic of your opinions speak for themselves.

@ David Heidelberg: You wrote: The University more than adequately disciplines its students when misconduct is brought to the administration's attention.

I'd just like to throw my 2 cents in and repeat something that has been printed in The Hook many times over. In 2004 my daughter was raped on grounds at UVA. I met with Susan Davis and VP Lampkin about the school's failure to properly handle this felony crime. I also brought it to their attention that the young man had been arrested in Charlottesville for obstruction of justice and also that his brother (a UVA student) had been arrested for rape in Atlanta while representing UVA at a Phi Beta Lambda convention. VP Lampkin assured me that the school was not interested in police incidents that occurred off grounds. They also knew that another female had reported a rape involving this man. This young man went before 3 UVA Sexual Assault boards during his last 2 years at the school and although found guilty by a jury of peers, was not sanctioned or expelled. Statistics provided by Virginia schools to the Virginia Crime Commission last summer revealed that not one single student-on-student forcible assault in Virginia last year resulted in an arrest. That's alarming - and shows that the problem is statewide, not just at UVA.

it took a death and a change of University President for the school to require students to report off-campus arrests. I hope that VP Lampkin uses this information for the purpose of safety of students and no longer ignores it as she did with the information I provided her about the young man who raped my daughter. If she had listened to me, that second coed (and who knows how many others) might not have been raped by that young man.

Based upon my own personal experience, the University does not disciplines its students when sexual assault or domestic violence misconduct is brought to the administration's attention. They might have zero tolerance for cheating but that's about it. Everything else is labelled a "miscommunication between students". I do firmly believe that even if Yeardley had sought out help from the Administration, the campus police, the Women's Center, or SARA, nothing could have been done to stop George's behavior. It's just my opinion.....

Just a short response to Susan, The most recent graduation of a UVA law student( can't recall his name) who clearly violated both civil and any hypothetical student conduct rules put forth by UVA, clearly demonstrates a false notion that faculty is in any way concerned about integrity on the part of students. The proof is in the pudding and UVA's pudding is sour at best.

Ms. Russell:

In response to your situation (and I assume because of other complaints), the University recently instituted (September, 2011) a new and separate sexual misconduct policy that requires internal investigations, hearings and, if merited, discipline. I recently read it for the first time and its extensive and detailed. It didn't exist when it mattered most to you but it is a clear attempt to better govern these situations and to sort through these often conflicting stories. You can read about new remedies instituted and about how the policy works at:

This is so new that there haven't been enough complaints (most of which will remain confidential) to know how effective this is. Nevertheless, as in response to the Huguely loophole, I see the Administration trying to plug perceived gaps in their governance of student misbehavior.

With all respect, the new policy is an administrative response to a felony crime. I don't know of any other crimes that are handled purely by administrative means. When a felony occurs on a college campus, there are certain protocols that should take place. A proper investigation must occur and nowhere is that mandated int he school sexual assault policy.

When I was arguing for Kathryn's Law in Richmond last year, I received several emails from young women who were dissuaded from reporting their crimes. My opinions have been well documented over the years, and I am fairly one-sided about this topic. But unless you were to hear all the details of how a sexual assault is handled, I can see how you can be snookered by such policy. The fact is that when a young woman reports that she has been stalked, abused, and god forbid, raped, no one at the school conducts a thorough, legal investigation. We will never know how effective the new policy is because the school uses FERPA as a shield. However, we do know through the VA Crime Commission hearings last summer that not one single forcible assault committed by student-on-student in the past year, at any Virginia college, resulted in an arrest. The proof of the college attitudes are in the statistics.

Gaps? Gaps? How about a burst dam. Come on folks, lets get real here. Both UVA and Cville are obsessed with image. Young men come here for a variety of reasons, certainly not a secondary education, this is the South you know, regardless, the odds dictate that young men mixed with alcohol placarded in close proximity to women equals eventual abuse. An equation thats been proven over the ages. The only question really is where will UVA draw the line on mens eternal quest to abuse their female counterparts. At this point there is no line so long as image is king.

Ms. Russell:

Your statement that there is no provision for investigation is inaccurate. The entire policy is long and detailed, so I assume you missed it. Paragraph IV.C. on page 10 of the policy describes a detailed investigative procedure and specifies who must conduct it. If any student formally asks for such an investigation, it must be pursued. How to coordinate University proceedings with contemporaneous criminal investigations by the police is carefully contemplated in Paragraph II.E. This procedure hasn't even existed for 6 months yet, so it's too soon to say that UVA isn't sincere about this. It isn't fair, as Perspective opines, to assume that this procedure is only some kind of cosmetic image burnishing symbolic gesture before meaningful results are achieved. My fledgling experience with this endeavor so far doesn't support this assertion. They put a lot of thought and effort into devising this remedy. People will simply need to give this process a chance before assuming it can't work.

Ms. Russell -- isn't the correct response that the University shouldn't be involved in adjudicating alleged criminal acts? It is for law enforcement to investigate and for the courts to adjudicate such acts.

Unfortunately, when the allegations of abuse are against a fellow student, the schools are being EXPECTED to act -- even though that is an arena they are not qualified to handle. That's how they have gotten into these "administrative proceedings," that satisfy no one. Some might say -- "What's the problem here? Any student accused of sexual abuse (no matter how loosely that is being defined) should automatically be removed from the campus." But, where is the due process in that?

And, I should add, as of last Summer, not only is it expected that schools act on allegations of student on student sexual abuse, US DOE has mandated that not only must the schools act, they must institute procedures weighted totally in favor of the complainant, or risk Federal funding.

The appropriate response would be that when a student is implicated in an alleged criminal action, local law enforcement should investigate.

My issue with the points made by Mr Heidelberg is that he assumes the college will follow through with the request from the student to investigate. Clearly, when there is an assault, there are certain protocols that must be taken care of immediately - photos of the crime scene, hospital exams, interviewing witnesses. I know for a fact these things do not happen - and the failure to perform a timely and correct investigation ruins the woman's chance to achieve justice. Just because UVA policy states that a student asks for an investigation doesn't mean that a proper investigation will happen. Anyone who thinks otherwise is easily fooled. I will be glad to publicly debate that point with anyone because I have been doing so with UVA for 7 years. And that is why we tried to revise the VA Code to mandate collaboration between campus and local police and to require the universities to notify the Commonwealth Attorneys immediately when a felony crime and/or sexual assault occurs on campus - to ensure that these crimes did get immediate attention and proper investigation. To the average citizen these two points are a no-brainer, but to the VA Legislature you'd think we asked to send people to the moon. They debated and spent months studying the issue, and in the end still didn't understand what they were voting on. As far as the DOE, I have had an active Title IX case pending with the Dept of Ed since 2004 - and just recently received a note from them assuring me they were still investigating. Who has that much time to wait? No, only a few cases (Yale/Harvard/Penn State) get some notoriety because of the media attention, while many other complaints sit collecting dust. The entire process is broken and while many women emerge scarred from their University years, a few, like Yeardley emerge as victims.

Ms. Russell:

I am not assuming that University authorities will act to pursue their policy. My single experience with their procedure so far confirmed that they are taking these changes seriously.

What happened to your daughter was tragic and it sounds like mistakes were made before outside forces compelled better accountability by University officials. All you can ask of people and their institutions is that they learn from the error of their ways and to act accordingly. While this new approach is brand new, I see encouraging signs that this involves real change.

Even with better procedures in place, student victims of sexual abuse, assault, stalking, harrassment and intimidation must still want to get help and listen to those who they love and trust when they advise to take action.

There is no doubt that your daughter and Yeardley Love were traumatized and confused. Your daughter cannot retrieve what she lost during her unfortunate experience any more than Yeardley Love's family can get her back. Your crusade is important in terms of holding officials and politicians accountable to act on their promises.

However, I see the University as initiating a thoughtfully legitimate attempt to reform their procedures. Those who love victims of assault and abuse by their fellow students (particularly young adults in unhealthy relationships), need to support such victims and encourage them to follow through with pursuing already available (and hopefully improved) remedies. These victims usually experience confusion and doubt that their supporters must persistently but sensitively encourage them to overcome.

Dr Jack Daniel was a defense witness because, as I understand it, Dr Makers Mark was unavailable due to scheduling conflicts.

How ironic that a Dr with that name would be testifying for an alcoholic defendant (paid for by his alcoholic father).

Well Susan, after all those rhetorical responses that add up to zip it is no wonder why women should still very careful as to they even say hi to. I work with quite a number of women who's lives have been completely shattered by male abuse, I have no, that means no, patience for people who take a half hearted view towards a culture that breeds and almost defends male aggression towards women. There are no excuses for half hearted attempts to fix a system that in reality condones this kind of behavior. Mr Heilberg has no clue the lives decimated by male abuse, apparently even when a death occurs. Still the obtuse rationale behind institutional changes that amount to nothing.
The general public has no inkling the complete destruction to a woman's life at the hands of an irrational man. The women know but fear retaliation or even worse, dismissal,should they vent their frustrations on the subject. Whats the answer? Thousands more law suits? Mr Heilberg would love that. But until we have a cultural shift towards women's rights there's a long road to hoe, unfortunately with a lot of women yet to be victimized. Eve was the original sin, and women are still paying for that, maybe when this trial is over, the females at UVA should occupy Sullivans office for real change.

@David Heidelberg: I will acknowledge real change when I see it happen, not praise it on the hope that it will happen.

My daughter and I met with President Sullivan and two members of her staff last November. During that meeting she apologized to my daughter and finally acknowledged, as the University President, that my daughter had been raped in her dorm room. Is an apology enough legal satisfaction? I dare say, to those in in your profession it is not. To acknowledge that a felony crime occurred, then apologize, yet restrain your staff from taking appropriate action ... it is reprehensible. All parents should be concerned for their children's safety when sending them to Charlottesville.