Published: Tue, March 19, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

US Supreme Court to hear convicted quadruple killer's appeal

US Supreme Court to hear convicted quadruple killer's appeal

How Justice Kavanaugh's first term on the Supreme Court will play out.

The US Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether a man serving life in prison over his role in a deadly 2002 shooting spree should be re-sentenced because he was only 17 years old when he took part in the Washington-area killings.

The nine justices will hear an appeal filed by the state of Virginia objecting to a lower court's decision ordering that Lee Boyd Malvo's sentence of life in prison without parole in the so-called D.C. Sniper crimes be thrown out.

Lee Boyd Malvo listens to court proceedings during the trial of fellow sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad in Virginia Beach, Va., in 2003.

An appeals court in Virginia ruled past year that Malvo should be resentenced in that state because of Supreme Court decisions that came after his sentence and altered sentencing requirements for juvenile offenders.

Malvo's appeal concerns whether the earlier rulings do not apply only to people facing automatic life without parole sentences but also to instances in which a judge had discretion over what sentence to impose.

Kansas asked the Supreme Court to take the case, asking the justices to decide whether the 1986 immigration law really does bar states from using information, even commonly used Social Security numbers, from the I-9 forms.

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Virginia appealed in the Malvo case after the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in June 2018 that he should be resentenced.

Despite questions about the length and severity of Malvo's sentence, he will clearly remain in prison for the foreseeable future.

The panel concluded that "Malvo was 17 years old when he committed the murders, and he now has the retroactive benefit of new constitutional rules that treat juveniles differently for sentencing". Between Sept. 5 and October 22, 2002, Muhammad and Malvo killed 10 people and wounded others in sniper attacks in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

An FBI analyst was killed as she stood in the parking lot of a Home Depot. Many people were fearful every time they went outdoors.

Virginia's appeal was among four criminal cases the court added to its docket for the term that begins in October.

Several justices wondered whether the case was properly before the Supreme Court.

Because the state did not draw a new map after the decision by the panel of judges in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, the judges had an outside expert draw a new map. But unlike with most rights guaranteed by the first 10 amendments, states have not been compelled to follow suit and require unanimous juries in all state cases.

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