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Guardians File Motion to Move Malvo Case to Juvenile Court

Aired November 15, 2002 - 11:31   ET


LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Also at this hour, we have another breaking development to report to you from Virginia. We understand that the motion that was being made in the John Lee Malvo hearing this morning to have his case moved to a juvenile court, because he is 17 years of age, we understand that the judge has denied that motion.
Our Kathleen Koch.

Actually, I'm being told now a prosecutor for Fairfax County, Virginia is at the microphone talking to the press right now. Lets listen in.


ROBERT HORAN, FAIRFAX CO. COMMONWEALTH'S ATTY: Well, of course, I have made a motion -- that since he now has two attorneys representing him, that the attorney who was appointed guardian ad litem should be removed. And that's because I believe the case law is that way, but I'll wait and see what the juvenile judge decides. He has my motion in front of him, and we'll see what he decides on that issue.

QUESTION: Has there ever been a juvenile held in the adult jail before he was transferred and deemed an adult.

HORAN: Yes, many, many times. This jail has been accredited by the state as a jail that can hold juveniles, because they have facilities where they can hold them separate-and-apart from the adult prisoners. So it's a certified facility, and we've been -- every year, we have juveniles who are held because they're either a flight risk or a danger or sometimes they start out in the juvenile facility. They bust some heads of other juveniles, and they wind up in the adult facility. So it's not at all unusual to have juveniles held on the adult side.

Normally on really serious homicides, the juvenile will be held in the adult detention center. Sometimes on the homicides that are less than totally violent, of course, there's no good homicide in my view, but lesser homicides sometimes they'll keep them in the juvenile center.

QUESTION: What's your opinion about the -- the a classification of the juvenile? Is it minimum or medium? (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Or Corbin (ph) just misspeak of before in court?

HORAN: There is no question in my mind, that the juvenile detention facility we have in Fairfax County is a minimum security facility. I mean there is no perimeter fence around that facility. And if you get to the front door, you can walk out the front door, and there is no fence that's going to block you. There are no guard towers. And I think by any reasonable definition, it's a minimum security facility. And it's meant to house juveniles who are charged with lesser offenses than certainly capital murder.

QUESTION: Can you talk about the issue coming up this afternoon?

HORAN: There is a motion, a motion for -- asking for humane conditions. I've only been in this business 35 years. I've never seen one of those before so we'll have to see what happens.

QUESTION: Is anybody trying to get a gag order in the case?

HORAN: Well, there's a hearing going to go on now, which is a civil case, where a gag order is being sought by way of injunction. The federal government is represented by the United States attorney's office. The Fairfax County government is represented by the county attorney's office. And about a half or so, they'll argue that in circuit court.

QUESTION: How would that affect what -- news conferences like this or cases where you can tell -- I mean would you still be able to do what you're doing now if there's a gag order in place?

HORAN: I may have spoken to you for the last time.

QUESTION: Is there anything else you'd like to say while you're here.

HORAN: No. Thank you.

QUESTION: What do you think about a gag order?

HARRIS: You've been listening to Robert Horan, who the Fairfax County prosecutor there. Just coming out of a courtroom there, and talking about some of the action that's taken place there. We understand that a number of motions have been filed by the attorneys representing John Lee Malvo, the 17-year-old sniper, sniper -- alleged sniper who is accused of some of the shootings in the D.C. area. And the one for which he's standing -- facing charges there in this courtroom there, in Fairfax County, is the shooting at the home depot, the woman who was an FBI employee. And we understand that his court appointed guardian, Todd Petit, is going to be speaking next.


TODD PETIT, MALVO'S GUARDIAN: (OFF-MIKE) ...I assume you all want to know how I feel about what happened today. I am disappointed as Mr. testified during the hearing, they have housed people charged with murder before and other very serious charges. And I agree with Mr. Horan on the one point, that we should not treat this juvenile any differently than we have every other in Fairfax County.

And it's for that reason I believe the appropriate decision should have been to put him in the juvenile detention center. I know the judge Keith (ph) thought about the decision. I respect Judge Keith (ph) very much. And I know he has his reasons, but I do disagree with the ruling.

I don't know where -- if other motions that I will file. I don't know if I'll appeal this to the court of appeals. Those are all things I'm going to take into account. But at this time, I am going to go back speak to the juvenile hopefully today, hopefully I'll be able to get in and see him. You heard I wasn't able to get in yesterday. Hopefully I'll go talk to him today, see how he feels, and that's about it.

QUESTION: Why do you think you weren't able to get in?


QUESTION: How is he feeling in this facility? Has he complained about it?

PETIT: I don't believe that it's in his best interests for me to tell the press, what my conversations are with him or what he is telling me.

I can tell you that he is currently in a -- a smaller cell block than what was described in the juvenile facility. That cell block is approximately 15-feet-long and 8-feet-wide. He sleeps not in a cell off of to that. He sit -- he is in the main room of the cell block. There is nobody else on that cell block. He is given a mattress which is, in my opinion very thin, and I think in your opinion it would be very thin as well. He indicates he is given one blanket to sleep with.

He is watched 24 hours a day. He does have a camera, I believe he has a camera in the cell block, I am not sure if it's on. I would assume that it is on. And that he does -- obviously it's not the ideal situation for a juvenile.

QUESTION: Todd, why do you think you weren't allowed to see him? Are they singling you out, treating you differently?

PETIT: I'd like to believe the sheriff's department truly did have a leak. And I can tell you folks that, generally the sheriff's department has been very good in working with attorneys or at least I -- that's my experience. But I am concerned, however, that I wasn't allowed to see him yesterday. He is being housed on a different floor than the professional visitation, but I believe that I should have at least been able to visit him on an upper floor, where the visitation occurs. I was not given that opportunity.

QUESTION: Horan, just told us that have been other juveniles charged with murder and other crimes, but not sure about that, but housed in the adult jail. And he said this is -- quote -- "'Alice in Wonderland' that anybody would think they would house this young man in a juvenile jail".

PETIT: Mr. Corbin (ph), disagrees with Mr. Horan, because Mr. Corbin (ph) indicated they do house people charged with murder. So whether it's a fairy tale or not; you all heard, you were in the courtroom. The evidence that was presented to the judge is in fact, that they do house them at the juvenile detention center. Whether other people charged with murder -- other juveniles charged with murder, have been held in the adult detention center, I can not comment on that. I have not represented a juvenile who has been held in the adult detention center.

QUESTION: Do you believe the conditions rise to a level of inhumane? Are they more onerous than other inmates? Would you characterize that, please?

PETIT: I believe that the conditions that the juvenile is currently being held in do rise to that level. And I believe that there are serious concerns over the way that he is being treated. And unfortunately, I believe it's only because of the attention that this case is getting, and not because of the actual facts of the case.

QUESTION: Do you have concerns that the court is open and in this -- and wanted the hearing closed.

PETIT: Yes, he is still a juvenile. And I believe that as a juvenile, he should have all his rights protected. And to have all the press in the court room; listening to everything that occurs, seeing him, all of those things. The reason we have a juvenile court is. because juveniles are special type of individual who need more protection. That's why a guardian ad litem is appointed.

I am an attorney, I do criminal defense, but that's not what my position is in this particular case. In this case, I'm acting as his guardian. The code allows for that, because we realize that juveniles are more sensitive, and they have sensitivities that adults don't have. And that is why I believe he should be held in the juvenile detention center.


QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) He has a lawyer, he doesn't need you.

PETIT: Lawyer and a guardian do not have the same position. Mr. Arif's job is very from mine. His job is to make sure that every legal right that -- is protected. My job as his guardian ad litem, is to make sure for his physical and mental safety, not his legal safety.

HARRIS: With that explanation of his duties, Todd Petit, the guardian, who was assigned to John Lee Malvo, has walked away from the microphones after talking about a bit -- what happened in this courtroom, this morning.

It appears as though they have been requesting, through a motion filed there, to have Malvo moved out of the adult facility, that he is in right now. We heard moments ago, that Fairfax County prosecutor Robert Horan saying that this is a facility that is accredited for holding juveniles and adults. Malvo's guardian wanted him moved from there, but the judge denied that in this particular case.

What is still to be decided is a couple other motions filed. One a gag order to keep all information, and any leaks from coming out. Because as may have heard, in the last couple of days or so, Mr. Petit has been quite concerned about different reports coming from the police department, about statements made by Malvo while has been incarcerated.

Also, there was a motion being filed right now for basis of humane conditions for Malvo, and no explanation about that. But the judge is considering both of those, and also to be still to be considered is where this case is going to be tried, whether in juvenile coat -- or court rather -- or in regular court. We'll have continuing coverage on all of this as it continues to develop.



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