CEDAR RAPIDS — A lawyer for a 16-year-old boy, charged with attempted murder, asked a judge Friday to allow his parents to be present during depositions.
Tom Viner, lawyer for Malachi Handley, who will turn 17 next week, argued that a juvenile has the right to have his parents present during court proceedings, which include depositions. The parents have a legal responsibility to their children and should be involved in the process, he said.
Handley is charged with attempted murder, willful injury causing serious injury and intimidation with a dangerous weapon. A criminal complaint shows a security surveillance video and witnesses identified Handley firing several shots at a 14-year-old boy on March 11, as the boy was leaving the Maytag Laundromat, 220 16th St. NE, Cedar Rapids.
The 14-year-old had gunshot wounds to his back and right leg. Several people were inside the laundromat at the time but no others were injured, the complaint shows.
Testimony during a previous hearing shows witnesses also told police there was an ongoing conflict between the 14-year-old and Handley before the shooting.
Viner argued that if Handley’s case would have remained in juvenile court, his parents would have the right to be present during depositions. Handley’s mother, who was at Friday’s hearing, will not interfere or interact with the witnesses, he added.
Assistant Linn County Attorney Rena Schulte argued none of the juvenile laws cited by Viner apply in adult court. The law doesn’t require the presence of the defendant at depositions. Defendants have no right to be present during depositions, so the argument that a parent has that right is “erroneous.”
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Schulte also said it is difficult to prosecute gun violence cases like this because witnesses refuse or are hesitant to come forward because they fear retaliation. One witness for the prosecution noticed that Handley’s mother was in the courthouse when she was giving her deposition last month and she was “visibly upset,” fearing Handley’s mother would retaliate for her testifying, Schulte said.
Another witness, initially, wouldn’t admit she knew Handley because weeks before the shooting, he brought a gun to school and people were afraid, Schulte added.
Sixth Judicial District Judge Kevin McKeever said he would take the matter under advisement and submit a written ruling next week before the next scheduled depositions in the case.
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