The course of remaining Virginia charges against sniper John Allen Muhammad may be affected by the state’ speedy trial law, says the Washington Post. A 1993 ruling could lead to the dismissal of pending charges on the ground that his right to a speedy trial was violated because he wasn’t brought before a judge after his 2002 indictment in Fairfax County. Virginia law requires that a person who has been indicted and held in custody be tried within five months unless the defendant waives the right to a speedy trial.
In this case, Muhammad did not have the option of having his first trial in Fairfax County. Because accomplice Lee Boyd Malvo admitted firing the fatal shot in Fairfax, Muhammad probably would have demanded to be tried in Fairfax first, said defense lawyer Peter Greenspun. If a judge dismisses the Fairfax case, it would not affect the convictions of Muhammad and Malvo in trials last fall or pending murder cases against them in Maryland, Alabama, Louisiana, and Washington, D.C.