Supreme Court’s Malvo case to affect other convicted teens
WASHINGTON — Lee Boyd Malvo, who terrorized the Washington region in 2002 as one-half of a sniper team, is at the center of a case the Supreme Court will hear this fall. But the justices’ eventual ruling probably will mean less for him than for a dozen other inmates who, like the now-34-yearold Malvo, were sentenced to life without parole for murders they committed as teens.
At issue for the Supreme Court is whether Malvo should be resentenced in Virginia in light of Supreme Court rulings restricting life-without-parole sentences for crimes committed by juveniles.
But the case could also be an opportunity for the Supreme Court, which has recently become more conservative, to put the brakes on what has been a gradual move toward more leniency for juvenile offenders.
Regardless of the case’s outcome, Malvo isn’t leaving prison anytime soon. He’s serving four life-without-parole sentences in Virginia. He was sentenced to another six life life-without-parole terms for shootings in Maryland. But an appeals court ruled last year that Malvo should be resentenced in Virginia, the decision the Supreme Court will review.
The appeals court explained that after Malvo was sentenced, the Supreme Court issued a series of decisions affecting juvenile killers, decisions that required Malvo to be resentenced.
But even if the justices were to agree that Malvo should receive new sentences in Virginia and even if he were given something short of life without parole, then he still would have to successfully get his Maryland sentences reduced before having a shot at freedom.
“The reality is that other people have more at stake in this case than he does,” said Jody Kent Lavy, the executive director of the Washington-based Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth, which has filed a Supreme Court brief supporting Malvo.