A public defender who was punched in the face by his client in open court has been permitted to withdraw, while a second public defender who refused to take the case was held in contempt Tuesday.Do I think that the Defendant is nuts or trying to cause a mistrial? Probably. Do I think a judge should be able to force an attorney to represent someone who is violent against her will? You gotta be kidding me.
Attorney Fred Goodman had asked to withdraw because he might press assault charges against the defendant, Malik El-Shabazz, 20, who is on trial for the rape and murder of a 6-year-old girl.
A second lawyer with the Public Defenders Association, Andrea Konow, who witnessed the sucker punch in court Monday, said that she, too, could not in good conscience represent El-Shabazz in the death-penalty case.
Common Pleas Judge Jane Cutler Greenspan agreed to let Goodman step down but the judge held Konow in contempt of court. Konow was led out of the courtroom by sheriff's deputies.
24 March 2004
Arresting an attorney because she declines to represent a man she has just seen attack his attorney in court:
Author: Ken Lammers on 3/24/2004