The Huguely-Love tragedy sparks WNST heat

February 13, 2012 | Drew Forrester


For starters, it’s awfully difficult to say “guilty” – to me, anyway – when the defense in the case hasn’t even presented their argument or evidence.  Compared to a basketball game, it’s like the home team being ahead 55-40 at the half.  It LOOKS like the home team will win.  But they play two halves.  And there’s still time left on the clock. And anything can happen.  So you play out the final half and you see who wins.

To me, 4 hours away in Baltimore, it sure LOOKS like George Huguely is guilty.  But the game isn’t over yet and we’ll have to see what the scoreboard looks like when the clock reaches 00:00.  And to further complicate things, I’m not sure what, exactly, he’s guilty of, since finding someone guilty of murder in Virginia is different than finding someone guilty of murder in South Carolina or Kansas or Arizona.  But LOOKING like he’s guilty and being found guilty are two different things.  And until the jury sends that slip of paper back that reads “We find the defendant GUILTY”, he isn’t guilty.

And that has nothing at all to do with public perception.  Public perception had those kids at Duke labeled as racist criminal-punks. They might have very well have been racists.  And punks.  But they weren’t rapists.  The first two charges make them bad people, but not criminals.

So I can keep on saying things like “it LOOKS like Huguely is guilty” or “based on what I’ve seen thus far, it APPEARS as if he’s guilty” but until all the evidence is in and we can all make a full and final assessment, nothing is etched in stone.  Not to me, anyway.  And not to the men who created the Bill of Rights.  They didn’t create an Amendment that reads, “At any point during a trial, you can make your decision as a juror, even without all the evidence having been presented to you.”

The court of public perception might have Huguely guilty without the man’s trial being complete, but the court our nation’s founding fathers created says otherwise.

I know firsthand what it’s like to be found guilty in the court of public perception.  It happened to me, Glenn Clark and Nestor Aparicio last spring when we were sued by Jen Royle.  Lots of people around town jumped on the internet and proclaimed us guilty.  Gobs of wanna-be attorneys said, “I read the charges and the court documents and those guys are in big trouble for what they did.” Various sports and news message boards had the three of us pegged as GUILTY without ever hearing one piece of evidence from us or one contradiction from our side.  You know the story by now.  Jen Royle dropped the case, abruptly, robbing us of our chance to defend ourselves in a court of law and denying the three of us an opportunity to remind everyone who previously found us guilty that they should stick to driving a truck or being an accountant or doing whatever it is that they do for a living and leave the legal stuff to people who do that for a living.

I know all about public perception.  It found me guilty of something that I didn’t do.

There are lots of teachable moments in this George Huguely-Yeardley Love story.  There’s no need for me to go into them here.  A) You don’t want to be preached to, and B) You already know what they are.

But the one thing to always remember in a situation like the one in Charlottesville is this:  Rarely is anything precisely as it seems at face value.  Look deeper and you’ll find more details worth considering.  Take a moment to carefully review everything that transpired and then give that information the weight it deserves.

That’s what the jury will be doing sometime next week when the court hands them the case and asks them to determine the fate of George Huguely.




7 Comments For This Post

  1. Robert Says:

    With the rush to judgement, made by many without seeing the evidence, I see the need for jury screening done by lawyers. The worst part of situations like the Duke lacrosse case is the lack of accountability by those who “popped off” early, i.e. the Duke faculty. Cheers.

  2. Justafan Says:

    Neither Jon nor Joe would be selected for a jury because of their pre-conceived notions.

  3. The "Armchair QB" Says:

    As I stated this morning, the prosecution has the burden of proving the three elements of first degree murder beyond a reasonable doubt, which would be difficult even if alcohol were not involved. Those elements are, pre-meditation (he went to her apt intending to kill her); deliberation (he deliberately killed her); malice aforethought (provocation). Alcohol impairs one’s ability to reason clearly and will be an integral part of the defense’s attempt to refute “intent”! On the surface, it appears to be a classic case of manslaughter, which is defined as the killing in the heat of blood or second degree murder, which is killing absence the pre-meditation and deliberation. Frankly, had he “intended” to kill her, he could have easily choked her to death. In any event, “Murder 1” will be very difficult to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt”……..

  4. christopher McWilliams Says:

    Mr. Forrester,
    I am a lifetime Baltimore sports fan and likely around your age. And I have to tell you, you have got to let this Jen Royle stuff go, bro. I have read your website for years but I must say I heard you first hand rip that girl. I also have read multiple blogs about you commenting on her appearance (boots) and how dumb she is. Ive also read your tweets about the way she smelled at the ravens facility and correct me if I am wrong but Glen tweeted she was trashy like a stripper.

    With that proof, how in hell can you proclaim your innocence in the Royle case? I’m at a loss for words.

    Please I would like a reply from you. I deserve that as a long time listener.

    (DF: Here’s my reply. Jen Royle dropped the lawsuit she filed against the radio station, naming ME in that lawsuit. I don’t have to prove ANYTHING to you. Nothing. She would have to prove to a court – and to you, if you’re that interested – that we were guilty of wrong doing. She couldn’t prove that. So she dropped the case. Now, tell me again what I have to prove to you…)

  5. Rich Says:

    For the record, the US Constitution is all that matters in terms of this stand point, but the “courtroom of public opinion” will always be there to cloud any high profile matter. It’s just human nature, unfortunately. However, I say we leave interpretation of the US Constitution to those who do THAT for a living and those who interpret what happens in sports via the media for a living should stick to doing JUST that. I turn to sports media for coverage and commentary on the sports that I follow. I don’t want to hear a sports media outlet opining on murder trials (no matter what sports affiliation there may be … including Coach Sandusky and Bernie Fine) any more than I want main stream news outlets giving me their opinions on the NFL Draft or the race for the Stanley Cup. (DF: This is a sports story, sir. Very much so. They were athletes at a high level university and it brings into question what role their respective teams, players and coaches might have had in this incident. And it’s a sports story because you and others who listen might have college age sons and daughters who need to look at this as a teaching moment.)

  6. christopher McWilliams Says:

    But if I have the proof, because I read it, don’t you think she does too? You act like you are so innocent in this, Drew. I find it hard to believe this girl was able to file a suit with no proof. What lawyer would even take that case?

    Just because she dropped it means she couldnt prove anything? Wishful thinking on your part. I dont know this girl and I never will as I understand she is gone now. But you DID cross the line with her. And if we all know it, she knows it, I assume a judge would too. All she had to do was print the things YOU typed.

    Nobody feels sorry for you. You took it too far. Your a very knowledgable sports guy, stick to talking sports and not about your competitors, especially if they are women. (DF: You’re funny. If anything I wrote or said was WRONG and was worthy of a lawsuit, why didn’t the lawsuit go to trial? It’s a free country and I’m allowed to say or write whatever I want. And if what I did was wrong – or anyone did at WNST was wrong – why didn’t the lawsuit move forward? Answer: I didn’t do anything wrong. Say hi to Jen for me when you see her today. Try not to be so obvious next time.)

  7. christopher McWilliams Says:

    And where might I see Jenn, Mr. Forrester? Once again, you find it hard to believe somebody who doesn’t know her would defend the woman. Not everyone is on your side in this town. I commend you for your sports work, but a lot of people lost a lot of respect for you and your station for the way you treated Ms. Royle. Regardless of whether you think it was right or wrong, it was unnecessary and unwarranted from the outside looking in. Stop feeling like the victim, pop your ego, and come to the reality that maybe, just maybe, you were in the wrong. You can write all the blogs you want but people read what you wrote and heard what you guys said.

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