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Court orders rehearing for Prince William man

Tuesday - 5/17/2011, 12:07pm  ET

RICHMOND, Va. - The full Virginia Court of Appeals has agreed to review a panel decision affirming a Prince William County man's first-degree murder conviction.

The court granted the rehearing Tuesday for Sebastian Cortez-Hernandez, who was convicted in the 2008 shooting death of Omar Vasquez.

Cortez-Hernandez claims that the trial judge erred when he refused to allow the defense attorney a second cross-examination after a prosecutor brought out new information during re-direct examination of a key witness. A divided three-judge panel of the appeals court rejected that argument in April, ruling that the judge's decision was not reversible error.

Appeals court Judge James Haley Jr. wrote in a dissent that the trial court judge's decision violated the Constitution's Confrontation Clause and the fundamental principles of fairness.


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