There is no duty we so much underrate as... being
Judge Raymond Jackson has vacated the consecutive life sentences of John Lee Malvo's in a 25-page ruling.
Judge Jackson writes,
As a refresher, the crimes to which Jamaican immigrant and convert to Islam Malvo and his older associate, Gulf War veteran John Allen Muhammad, were convicted of murdering seventeen people as they went around primarily in the nation's Beltway in and around Washington, D.C. and Baltimore over a three-week-period in October 2002."There is no evidence in the record to suggest that petitioner was aware of the existence of this right, much less that he intended to relinquish or abandon it when he waived his rights by agreeing to be imprisoned for life without parole. Crucially, neither the plea agreement nor the sentencing judge provided any notification... that, by signing the plea agreement, he was waiving his Eighth Amendment right to a sentencing hearing in which the judge must determine whether the juvenile offender before it is a child whose crimes reflect transient immaturity or is one of those rare children whose crimes reflect transient immaturity or is one of those rare children whose crimes reflect irreparable corruption."
Coined the "Beltway sniper," or "Beltway snipers," Malvo and Muhammad were found guilty, and Muhammad was sentenced to death; his execution was carried out in 2009. Malvo's life sentences have now been vacated, however.
Malvo has maintained that he was sexually abused by Muhammad, and has shown some contrition for his actions, admitting that he stole people's lives.
This is probably merely a procedural event but it could nevertheless signify considerably more depending on which avenue the story takes going forward.