Appeals court allows capital retrial of Wolfe

Court Watch Posted on

A federal appeals court will allow a capital murder case to proceed against an accused drug kingpin from northern Virginia.

In a 2-1 ruling, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond overturned a federal judge in Norfolk who had ordered a halt to the prosecution of Justin Wolfe and his immediate release.

That judge said misconduct by prosecutors in Prince William County made it impossible for Wolfe to get a fair trial.

But a majority on the appellate court disagreed. The judges ruled that a new trial can be done fairly. A dissenting judge said the misconduct was so bad that freeing Wolfe was the only proper outcome.

Wolfe was sent to death row in 2002 for a drug-related murder, but his original conviction and sentence were overturned.

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