Mathena v. Malvo - (D.C. sniper case)

This case will be argued on Wednesday, October 16. Notable as having emanated from the D.C. sniper case. Respondent Lee Boyd Malvo was the younger of the two D.C. snipers.

Docket for 18-217 (Supreme Court docket #18-217)

Issue : Whether the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit erred in concluding—in direct conflict with Virginia’s highest court and other courts—that a decision of the Supreme Court, Montgomery v. Louisiana , addressing whether a new constitutional rule announced in an earlier decision, Miller v. Alabama , applies retroactively on collateral review may properly be interpreted as modifying and substantively expanding the very rule whose retroactivity was in question.

Basically, the 4th Circuit simply blew it and wrongly interpreted Miller v Alabama. Miller v. Alabama mandated that juveniles cannot be subject to a MANDATORY life sentence without parole. However, Malvo was not subject to such a mandatory sentence, rather the Judge had full discretion in sentencing him and opted to sentence him to life without parole.

The Supreme Court should reverse the 4th Circuit and restore Malvo’s original life sentence without parole.

I well remember the fear of doing something as simple as pumping gas around here back then.

Nothing too close by, but within the circumference where they were operating.

Keep him gone. Throw away gone.

Sounds on it’s face like a case that was completely mishandled by the 4th CoA and should be reversed with little or no comment.

He is in Virginia’s Red Onion State Prison, which is pretty much the equivalent of being in ADX Florence. Red Onion is a purpose built supermax facility, very similar to ADX Florence.

Not sure why, but it seems that courts that are otherwise competent seem to develop hiccups when presented with relatively simple habeas cases such as this. :smile:

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There’s absolutely no doubt this guy was guilty.

As such, just execute him. He’s a waste of food and air and money.

Not even an option unfortunately. Just life without parole.

The Supreme Court closed the door on executing anybody under 18 when they committed their crime a number of years ago.

Which makes zero sense. If you can be tried as an adult you should face the full range of possible adult penalties.

SCOTUS says no. Now live with it.

Should not be executing people whose crimes were committed when a minor.

SCOTUS agreed with me.


Looks like this is possibly going to go in a different direction than what I thought. The Supreme Court may be looking to expand the youth factor in sentencing. Hard to say how far they will go. Kavanaugh and possible Roberts may try to fashion a suitable remedy with the liberal justices.

I should note that even if Malvo prevails and gets a resentencing, very unlikely he ever leaves prison, due to the sheer number of his sentences. If he does, he is likely to be in his 70’s or 80’s.

I would note that whatever happens, it will still be likely that youths will be subject to discretionary life without parole, Judges just will have to factor youth when considering whether to impose such a sentence.

Looks we probably won’t get a decision.

The Governor of Virginia just signed a law that mandates parole for anybody sentenced as a youth. That law is retroactive and covers Malvo.

Consequently, Malvo’s attorneys have moved to have the case dismissed as moot.

The Supreme Court will likely VACATE the ruling of the 4th Circuit and remand to the habeas court with instructions to dismiss the habeas petition for mootness.

I agree on legal grounds. Disagree on moral grounds. What purpose is served?

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I was backing that possibility only on legal grounds. I did not cover moral grounds at the time.

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Dude need to stay in jail,damn that.
Living in the DC area during that time sucked ass. The school where the kid was shot in Bowie was 20 minutes from where I lived. The ex-wife of John Muhammad her neighborhood bordered community where my mom live. The gas station (I use to stop by there often) where the guy who was shot near Manassas, VA was down the street from where I worked my first job out of college. It was scary and way too close to home. Screw this dude and I hope he burns in hell.

Vengeance is mine, sayeth The Lord…

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In this case life without parole isn’t vengeance it’s simply justice.

No, it’s vengeance. He was obviously under the influence of the older male. No purpose is served…

Justice would be shooting him.

Being under the influence of your partner is not a mitigating factor.

I’ll admit that to a degree I had similar feelings at the time but the odds are if he’s released he’ll reoffend.

This isn’t like an adult using kids to run drugs or snatch wallets, it was murder and terrorism pure and simple.