Virginia law makes 'D.C. sniper' Lee Boyd Malvo eligible for parole, ends Supreme Court case

WASHINGTON - A new Virginia law ending life-without-parole sentences for juveniles will make a notorious mass murderer who terrorized the nation's capital region nearly two decades ago eligible for parole, likely ending his legal challenge at the Supreme Court.

Lee Boyd Malvo, who was 17 in 2002 when he and an older man killed 10 people over three weeks in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia, agreed Monday to drop his effort to win a new sentence. That's because the Virginia law will give him a shot at parole after serving 20 years.

Malvo's adult partner in the crime spree, John Allen Muhammad, was executed in 2009, but Malvo was sentenced to life without parole because of his youth.

Now 34, Malvo was unlikely to benefit from any high court ruling because he faces 10 life sentences over three jurisdictions. His challenge only involved the killings committed in Virginia. About 12 Virginia prisoners who committed crimes as juveniles are affected by the new law.

Since 2002, the Supreme Court has barred not only the death penalty for juvenile offenders but mandatory life-without-parole sentences for all but the most incorrigible. In 2016, it made the ruling on life sentences retroactive, forcing states to offer new hearings to more than 2,000 prisoners.

Virginia had refused to reconsider Malvo's case, arguing that the high court's rulings only apply to mandatory sentences. His attorneys nonetheless claimed those rulings require judges to decide if defendants are incorrigible or capable of reform, and that Virginia denied Malvo that opportunity.

During oral argument in October, conservatives such as Associate Justice Samuel Alito said the later rulings merely required that juveniles' sentences be discretionary, not mandatory. Liberals such as Associate Justice Elena Kagan said minors sentenced to life in prison must be found to be "irretrievably corrupt."

Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who grew up and practiced law in the D.C. area, appeared stuck in the middle: agreeing that juveniles' disposition must be considered, but not convinced that judges with discretion must spell that out.

Two lower federal courts previously agreed that Malvo should be resentenced because of the subsequent Supreme Court decisions. A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4 Circuit asked the trial court to decide if his crimes reflect "permanent incorrigibility" or "the transient immaturity of youth."

If the Supreme Court had ruled in Malvo's favor, it would not have represented a get-out-of-jail card for him, since he also received life without parole in Maryland for six murders committed there. The change in Virginia law similarly doesn't relieve him of convictions elsewhere.

His lawyer, Danielle Spinelli, said during oral argument: "We are nowhere near any prospect of being released."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Lee Boyd Malvo eligible for parole; Supreme Court case moot


More Related News

US supreme court gives conservatives the blues but what
US supreme court gives conservatives the blues but what's really going on?

Donald Trump's nomination of two justices seemed to have tilted the balance decisively but recent rulings have raised eyebrowsFor all the ominous twists of Donald Trump's presidency, his placement on the US supreme court of two deeply conservative justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, inspired a special kind of foreboding for many liberals.With three conservatives already sitting on the court, the creation by Trump of a seemingly impregnable, five-vote conservative supreme court majority appeared to pose a generational threat to essential American rights and freedoms.But as the first full term with the two Trump "supremes" draws to a close, a curious development has taken hold. Last...

Outrage as Indian judge calls alleged rape victim
Outrage as Indian judge calls alleged rape victim 'unbecoming'

Judge says behaviour of alleged victim was "not the way our women react when they are ravished".

US victims of FARC rebels win claim to Venezuelan
US victims of FARC rebels win claim to Venezuelan's fortune

Three American defense contractors held for five years by leftist rebels in Colombia moved closer to collecting on a $318 million judgment against their former captors when a U.S. Supreme Court justice rebuffed an appeal by a sanctioned Venezuelan businessman whose assets they seek to claim. Justice Clarence Thomas refused to hear an emergency appeal by Samark López, letting stand an order by a federal appeals court immediately turning over $53 million from the businessman's previously seized U.S. bank accounts., though the appeals court judgment is being contested.

U.S. Supreme Court blocks Alabama order easing voting restrictions
U.S. Supreme Court blocks Alabama order easing voting restrictions
  • US
  • 2020-07-03 02:51:23Z

Alabama requires voters to submit a photo identification when they apply for an absentee ballot, and it requires that ballot to be returned along with the signature of two witnesses or a notary. A U.S. district court judge in Birmingham, Alabama's largest city, issued a ruling in June that would have effectively freed voters from the photo I.D. requirement, in some counties, if they are 65 or older or have a disability. The judge also would have blocked Alabama from restricting counties that wished to establish curbside voting.

Supreme Court blocks curbside voting in Alabama
Supreme Court blocks curbside voting in Alabama
  • World
  • 2020-07-03 01:35:57Z

The U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision Thursday blocked a lower court ruling allowing curbside voting in Alabama and waiving some absentee ballot requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic. Conservative justices granted Alabama's request to stay a federal judge's order that would allow local officials to offer curbside voting in the July runoff and loosen absentee ballot requirements in three of the state's large counties. The order will remain stayed while the court decides whether to hear Alabama's appeal.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: Latin America