RICHMOND, Virginia — A federal appeals court will allow Virginia to pursue a capital murder case against an alleged 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. The 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. They 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.