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New trial requested,or let the games begin

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Bruce H, Feb 9, 2004.

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  1. Bruce H

    Bruce H Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    North Mo.
    Convicted Sniper's Lawyers Seek New Trial
    Associated Press

    RICHMOND, Va. - Lawyers for Washington-area sniper John Allen Muhammad on Monday asked for a new trial or to have his conviction overturned, arguing that the verdict was won less on evidence than prosecutors' swaying jurors with "the horror" of the shooting spree.

    Muhammad was convicted on two capital murder counts in November, and the jury recommended the death penalty.

    Post-trial motions such as those filed Monday by Muhammad's lawyer, Peter Greenspun, are routine in capital cases, and help preserve the defense's ability to seek a new trial on appeal.

    Greenspun argued a sniper expert should not have been allowed to testify because the defense was not told in advance about the man.

    At the least, Greenspun said, that testimony should have been stricken, along with testimony from victims and family members and the use of victims' photos and recordings of 911 calls.

    Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo were convicted in the October 2002 sniper spree that terrorized the Washington region, leaving 10 dead and three wounded in a three-week span.

    Muhammad will be formally sentenced March 10. The judge has the option of reducing the sentence to life in prison, but Virginia judges rarely do so in capital cases.

    Mark Spicer, a British Army sniper expert, testified that a two-man team is necessary for snipers to be successful and that the spotter actually bears greater responsibility. The testimony, Greenspun argued, was used to establish Muhammad's guilt because prosecutors knew they couldn't prove Muhammad actually fired the fatal shots.

    "The prosecutors knew from months of trial preparation that there did not exist a shred of evidence that John Allen Muhammad was the actual killer," the filing said, adding that the evidence clearly pointed to Malvo as the shooter.

    Malvo was convicted of capital murder. The jury recommended he receive a life prison sentence.

    At trial, prosecutors painted Muhammad as the mastermind, a father figure using a teen who idolized him as an accomplice.

    Greenspun also questioned the constitutionality of an anti-terrorism statute used by prosecutors. The lawyer did not return phone messages Monday.

    Prosecutors have one week to respond to the motions.
  2. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Dec 24, 2002
    Idahohoho, the jolliest state
    This case will keep lawyers in pay checks for decades.

    The murder victims, unfortunately, are still dead.
  3. Leatherneck

    Leatherneck Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    No. Virginia and Northern Neck
    But not very big ones. Story in today's WashCompost about how VA spends less than $250 per defendant for public defenders. :scrutiny:

    TFL Survivor
  4. Fred Thompson

    Fred Thompson Member

    Nov 4, 2003
    Tampa Bay, Florida
    Here we go, a few years of "He wasn't allowed to have a puppy as a kid", or "His parents didn't pay enough attention to him"...
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