VIRGINIA

Ruling on Malvo: A guardian should never have been appointed for Lee Boyd Malvo, the teenage sniper suspect now facing capital murder charges in Fairfax County, a Fairfax judge ruled yesterday in rejecting the guardian's request for Malvo's records.

Malvo was arrested in October and turned over to Fairfax authorities in November for allegedly participating in the fall shootings, which left 10 dead and three wounded in the Washington area. A Fairfax juvenile court judge then appointed a defense lawyer and a guardian for Malvo, whose parents were out of touch with him.

But Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Jane Marum Roush ruled, in an opinion released yesterday, that Virginia law requires only that a lawyer be appointed to a juvenile defendant. Roush said juvenile court judges have discretion to appoint a guardian only in situations where the law does not require either a lawyer or a guardian. Since the law required that Malvo receive a lawyer, the juvenile court "had no authority to appoint [Todd] Petit to act as Mr. Malvo's guardian," Roush wrote.

Petit had sought any records held by Fairfax, Prince William and Hanover counties, including criminal investigation files. Roush ruled that even if Petit were a proper guardian, he was not entitled to police files. Last month, Roush said that Petit's guardianship would end Feb. 18, when Malvo turns 18. He has been certified to stand trial as an adult on murder and terrorism charges.

MARYLAND

Officer sentenced: A former Prince George's County police officer was sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt to six months of home detention and five years' probation for failing to file taxes. He also was ordered to pay $36,535 in restitution.

Herman E. Johnson, 47, of Clinton pleaded guilty in October to failing to pay taxes in 1996 and 1997 while he served on the police force, according to Mary Frances Martin, a spokeswoman for the Internal Revenue Service. He originally was charged with failing to file tax returns from 1989 to 2001.

Ex-official charged: A former Charles County government official who resigned last month has been charged with forging documents to pay a friend $1,500 in public funds for services he never rendered, the county sheriff's office said yesterday.

Carol-Lynn Snowden, former director of the Charles County Human Services Partnership, allegedly forged vouchers in July approving $1,500 in payment for the friend, Michael Riley, according to charging documents filed Wednesday in Charles County District Court. On paper, the money was for helping a mental health patient move to a new home, but a county audit last year found that the patient did not exist and Riley never endered any services, according to charging documents.

Snowden, 34, of Bowie, resigned Jan. 25, after almost two years at the helm of the Human Services Partnership, said County Attorney Roger Fink. The partnership coordinates the provision of social services.

Compiled from reports by staff writers.