Albemarle County Circuit Judge Cheryl Higgins said Tuesday she would not consider evidence of ineffective assistance of counsel before sentencing in the case of a man convicted of abducting a 20-year-old woman.
Mark Weiner’s lawyers claim cell phone records undermine the state’s case, but Higgins said she cannot consider evidence that did not come in at trial and would not consider an ineffective assistance claim at this early stage of the proceedings.
The decision left Weiner’s family members frustrated, reports The Daily Progress.
Weiner was convicted based largely on the testimony of the alleged victim, who said the grocery store manager gave her a lift, drugged her, and took her to an abandoned house where she escaped.
Weiner said he dropped the woman at her mother’s home.
A jury believed the accuser and recommended a 20-year sentence.
With a new legal team, Weiner is challenging the conviction, saying cell phone data show the alleged victim’s phone was close to the mother’s apartment, not the abandoned house, when key text messages were sent.