Lee Boyd Malvo’s attorneys claim it’s unfair that they have to reveal their expert witnesses to the court — and to the prosecuting attorney — just because their client is poor.
“Mr. Malvo is indigent. If he were money, we wouldn’t be here,” said Craig Cooley, co-counsel for Malvo, the teenage sniper suspect charged on two counts of capital murder in the Oct. 14 death of Arlington resident Linda Franklin.
“The prosecutor can use its resources to seek any expert it chooses. It is free to choose any expert it wants to because it has its own checkbook,” said Cooley. “We have to go through the court.”
Ultimately, Circuit Court Judge Jane Marum Roush denied the request by Malvo’s attorneys to hire expert witnesses without revealing their identities to the court, the press and to Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Horan Jr.
“Our problem is obviously a financial one. We have to come through the court to seek witnesses. We want witnesses that give us basic tools to create an adequate defense,” said Michael Arif, co-counsel to Malvo.
“If I had the resources [O.J.] Simpson had, I would have experts up the wazoo,” he said.
REVEALING EXPERT WITNESSES gives Horan a distinct advantage in the trial, claimed Arif.
“The Commonwealth will know every expert we are looking for or not looking for,” said Arif. “The bottom line, if we are required to make each and every expert known to the Commonwealth, my client’s constitutional rights go down the drain.”
BUT REVEALING WITNESSES will not be a big surprise, according to Horan.
“In order for the defense to get experts, there must be a showing of need, but why does it have to be done in secret?” said Horan. “The policy is a good policy, particularly with a case of this magnitude. I bet I could write down now every expert they are going to request.”
Cooley, co-counsel for Malvo, made his first court appearance since Judge Roush appointed him as co-counsel to Arif on Jan. 28.
“I wanted to add another capable first chair. It’s nice to have you with us,” said Roush.
Upon entering the courtroom, Malvo, 17, turned to Cooley to shake his hand.
Linda Franklin’s husband, Arlington resident William Franklin, was in the courtroom as he has been for almost every hearing in Malvo’s case so far.
Malvo and John Muhammed, 42, are the suspects in a series of sniper attacks in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia that left 10 dead and three wounded.
Malvo’s trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 10, 2003. Muhammed is scheduled to stand trial in Prince William County on Oct. 14. Both face the death penalty.