Defense attorneys representing Alwin Chen – the Clarksburg High School student arrested last week for bringing a loaded gun to school – have accused the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office of misrepresenting facts about their client in court this week.
In an emergency motion filed before the Rockville District Court Thursday, attorneys Jill Michaels and David Felsen requested a new bond hearing for the 18-year-old, who remains in custody after being denied bond last week.
“Yes, we did file an emergency motion for a new bail hearing based on the incorrect information that was presented at the bail hearing,” Michaels said when reached by telephone. “I think everybody can agree that it was a very, very different picture than was presented the other day in court.”
In their emergency motion, Michaels and Felsen argue that Chen should be granted another bond hearing because Assistant State’s Attorney Frank Lazzaro presented incorrect information during Chen’s initial bond review when he said that a Montgomery County Police sergeant informed him that when police arrested Chen at school Feb. 15, he had a list of grievances containing names of Clarksburg High School students in his possession.
At the time, Lazzaro said the police officer whose report indicated the existence of a grievance list told him about it when the two spoke just minutes before the start of the bond hearing, and that the officer with whom he’d spoken received that information firsthand from the lead police investigator on the case. His assertions regarding the list came after Montgomery County Police Officer Chind Blom testified that police discovered an arsenal of weapons, including an AR-15 style rifle, revolvers, ammunition, and other items during a search Chen’s home conducted after his arrest.
A Montgomery County Police press release said officers discovered a journal during their search of Chen’s home, though it contained no harmful wording of threats or expressions of a desire to cause harm to anyone. But Michaels does not believe police ever found a list of grievances because no such list ever existed.
“We are not aware of any list that exists,” he said. “Moreover, we’re not aware that there was any piece of paper or list or otherwise found on his person . . . or at his home.”
Chen deserves to be released from prison and placed at home with his family, Michaels said, because the judge justified holding Chen without bond due to the existence of the alleged grievance list, which was evidence he would remain a threat to the community if released.
A Montgomery County Police representative would not comment on the discrepancy except to note that the case has been transferred to the State’s Attorney’s Office. However, a spokesman for that office, Ramon Korionoff, also declined to comment while the case makes its way through the courts
“It is a pending case we are not making any further comments about it,” Korionoff said. “We will respond to the motion in due course and via the proper legal channels,”
Whether Chen’s attorneys will have another chance to argue for his release remains up to Montgomery County District Judge John. C. Moffett, who has not yet rendered a decision on the matter.