‘List of grievances’ in Clarksburg High gun case is false, lawyer says

Clarksburg High School is in Montgomery County. (WTOP/John Domen)

WASHINGTON — The lawyer for the Clarksburg High School student who brought a gun to school has filed an emergency motion to reconsider bond, saying the prosecutor’s argument that Alwin Chen had a list of grievances is wrong, but that that claim influenced a Maryland judge’s decision.

Attorney David Felsen, in the motion filed in Montgomery County District Court, said Assistant State’s Attorney Frank Lazaro specified three times during Tuesday’s bond hearing that “a list of grievances” was found.

“The State asserted that the alleged ‘list of grievances’ explained, ‘why he (defendant) would want to harm people at the school,’” wrote Felsen. “The State later argued that the ‘list of grievances’ set forth the supposed motive for Mr. Chen’s alleged bringing the gun to school.”

However, after what he described as “diligent research and public statements by the Montgomery County Police Department,” Felsen has determined “THERE IS NO LIST OF GRIEVENCES.”(sic)

After Tuesday’s bond hearing, the Montgomery County Police Department issued an update to its press statement, specifying Chen’s journal had “no wording regarding any threat nor any expression of wanting to cause harm to anyone at the school.”

The school’s principal sent a letter home to parents, saying earlier reports that Chen had a list of grievances were inaccurate, linking to the updated police news release.

“The misrepresentations by the State were the basis for Judge (John) Moffett’s determination that Mr. Chen be held without bond,” wrote Felsen. “The (State’s) presentation of ‘incorrect’ information profoundly prejudiced Mr. Chen in the court’s bond determination.”

In an audio recording of the hearing, as Moffett contemplated whether Chen is dangerous, he included the discovery of “a list of grievances on his person” as part of his reasoning to hold Chen without bond.

Contacted by WTOP, Ramon Korionoff, spokesman for State’s Attorney John McCarthy, said, “As it is a pending case, we are not making any further comments about it. We will respond to the motion in due course and via the proper legal channels.”

Felsen’s co-counsel on the case is Jill Pogach Michaels.

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