Friday, October 5, 2007

Formal Arraignment - What We've Learned

Joseph Kerekes

Yesterday’s Formal Arraignment for Harlow Cuadra and Joe Kerekes provided a torrent of new information. Here’s a round-up of the latest facts in the Bryan Kocis murder case, as reported by the Wilkes-Barre media.

Some are simple; some have less-obvious implications.

1. Harlow and Joe both pleaded not guilty. A status conference was scheduled for December 21, 2007. The trial date was set for March 24, 2008

2. The district attorney's office announced its intention to try Cuadra and Kerekes jointly for Kocis' murder.

3. Joe's retained attorneys, Frank and Joseph Nocito, are no longer involved in the case. Kerekes all but said that lack of money was the reason for their brief inolvement in the case.

4. The attorney previously retained for Harlow, William Ruzzo remains his attorney (no doubt by court appointment), but is now lawyer for both defendants, along with Jonathan Blum from the public defender’s office.

5. Both defendants have 30 days to determine if they can hire private counsel. If not, it’s likely that a court-appointed conflict counsel will handle differences between the defenses of Harlow and Joe.

Harlow Cuadra

6. Not the least of those differences may arise because Cuadra has reportedly already “provided information about the case,” presumably to the DA’s office. (The folks at HarlowCuadraOnline flatly deny this report.)

7. Cuadra and Kerekes may fight for separate trials. If they do, it's an indication that they mean to present differing theories of the crime.

8. Harlow gave voice to the idea that Sean Lockhart and Grant Roy have knowledge of who killed Kocis.

9. Joe is demonstrably more interested in venting his anger about how he says police seized $200,000 in cash and property from him and Harlow for no reason. Or was it done to deny them a proper defense? Joe can’t seem to decide which, but he sure is mad about it.

10. For the convenience of the PD’s office, Olszewski directs that Cuadra be moved to the Luzerne County Jail if prison officials can find a way to keep him there while also keeping him separated from Kerekes.

11. It appears as if Olszewski has issued a limited gag order, barring the parties from publicly discussing certain aspects of the case. No telling what that order does to those blogs that purport to speak with the defendants’ voices.