Saturday, October 13, 2007

Joseph Kerekes Gets New Attorneys

Joseph Kerekes

Update (4:07 AM): Citizens Voice also covers the story:

"Blum argued Cuadra or Kerekes might blame one another for slashing Kocis' throat and killing him before the fire. The accomplice defense creates an obvious conflict for the office, Blum said in a motion seeking new counsel.

Blum also contends another conflict arises from his and First Assistant Public Defender Al Flora's past representation of Kocis. Flora was interviewed by police and provided information relative to Kocis' murder, Blum said in his motion. Because Flora is a potential witness in the case, the public defender's office should be removed, Blum argued." [Note: Al Flora defended Kocis in 2001, when Kocis was charged with sexually assaulting a teenager.]


The Times Leader picks up the story:

"A Luzerne County judge on Friday appointed attorneys from outside the public defender’s office to defend Joseph Kerekes on homicide charges in connection with the slaying of Bryan Kocis.

The move came after attorney Jonathan Blum, a public defender, asked for attorneys outside his office to represent the men because of potential conflicts of interest with his office defending both men.

According to Blum’s court papers filed Friday, having public defenders represent both men creates a significant conflict of interest because the men, at trial, could accuse the other as the principal killer.

Also, Blum wrote, he and Al Flora Jr. had represented Kocis in the past. Flora is the county’s first assistant public defender.

Blum wanted outside attorneys appointed for both men but Court of Common Pleas Judge Mark Ciavarella opted to appoint outside attorneys for only Kerekes."