Delphi defense attorney claims judge forced attorney’s withdrawal, requests judge be removed from case
CARROLL COUNTY, Ind. (WPTA and WTHR) - The sole defense attorney who remains on the Delphi murders case is claiming the judge forced the defense team to withdraw before last week’s hearing.
Allen was arrested on Oct. 28, 2022, on two charges of murder in the 2017 killings of Liberty German, 14, and Abigail Williams, 13. The two girls went missing while hiking on Feb. 13, 2017. Their bodies were found the next day in a heavily wooded area near the trail by the Monon High Bridge.
Attorney Bradley Rozzi claims in a Thursday filing that Special Judge Fran Gull of Allen County ordered him and fellow attorney Andrew Baldwin to “cease work on Mr. Allen’s case” on Oct. 12 until they were set to appear in court on Oct. 19.
That hearing on Oct. 19 lasted just a few minutes as Judge Gull said Baldwin had withdrawn from the case and expected Rozzi to do the same in the coming days.
The filing says the judge ordered the defense and Carroll County Prosecutor Nicholas McLleland to appear in chambers at 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 19 — which is 90 minutes before the hearing was scheduled to start.
According to the filing, the defense and prosecutor met prior to the Oct. 19 hearing when the judge read a prepared statement to Rozzi and Baldwin, identifying various issues throughout the case of the defense exercising “gross negligence” in carrying out their responsibilities for Allen.
The filing says the judge then gave Rozzi and Baldwin two options:
- Voluntarily withdraw their appearances and exit the courthouse in advance of the hearing
- Participate in the 2 p.m. hearing, and the judge would read a prepared statement into the record and then disqualify both Rozzi and Baldwin in the presence of Allen, his family and the public
According to the filing, the defense then spoke with Allen, who allegedly reaffirmed he wanted to continue being represented by Rozzi and Baldwin — and Allen allegedly still objects to the judge’s attempt to strip him of his current counsel.
After speaking with Allen, the court filing says Rozzi and Baldwin returned to chambers, at which time Rozzi said the judge “had engaged in an ambush of defense counsel, entirely void of due process,” and Rozzi would withdraw his appearance — noting it wasn’t voluntarily.
Rozzi cites the jury trial in Allen County scheduled to begin Jan. 8, 2024. If Rozzi were to continue representing Allen, the court filing says there will be no need to appoint two new attorneys to dedicate “hundreds and thousands of hours toward a mere review of the discovery.”
The filing states, “Any successor lawyer would have the convenience of working with Attorney Rozzi to become familiar with the subject matter in a much more efficient and fiscally responsible way.”
According to the filing, there are no circumstances under Rule 1.16 of the Indiana Rules of Professional Conduct which warrant Rozzi’s withdrawal in representing Allen.
Request to remove judge
Rozzi is also requesting Gull remove herself from the case.
The attorney is asking for her recusal, claiming she has shown her “impartiality might reasonably be questioned.”
Rozzi goes on to claim Gull violated the Indiana Supreme Court’s Administrative Rules by removing or concealing some of the defense’s pleadings from the case summary.
In the motion to disqualify, Rozzi also points to his claims the judge ordered counsel to “cease work on Mr. Allen’s case” leading up to the Oct. 19 hearing, which Rozzi claims violates Allen’s Sixth Amendment rights to representation.
Rozzi also accuses Gull of a lack of concern to protect the physical and mental health of Allen and has shown bias against Allen.
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