Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Harlow Cuadra's New Lawyers (Perhaps)...

It would appear Harlow Cuadra has new (paid) defense lawyers (again):

12/10/2008 Praecipe for Entry of Appearance filed. Atty D'Andrea & Atty Walker

Update @ 11:57 AM: It would appear that it's Attorney Joseph R. D'Andrea, Esq., and I think the other is James J. Walker, Esq.

Update @ 2:21 PM: Correction: the second attorney's name is Paul J. Walker, Esq.

Update @ 3:12 PM: It's official:

12/10/2008 Entry of Appearance Walker, Paul Joseph
12/10/2008 Entry of Appearance D'Andrea, Joseph R.

Update @ 12/11/08: According to the Citizens' Voice: Days after his co-defendant reached a plea deal with prosecutors, accused killer Harlow Cuadra has asked two private attorneys to represent him in place of his court-appointed, county-funded defense counsel.

Attorneys Joseph D’Andrea, from Dunmore, and Paul J. Walker, of Scranton, filed a notice in Luzerne County Court on Wednesday, formally declaring their intention to represent Cuadra.

D’Andrea confirmed his and Walker’s involvement in the case. Walker was out of the office Wednesday and did not return a telephone message.

Also Wednesday, Cuadra’s court-appointed attorneys, Stephen Menn and Michael Senape, filed a joint notice announcing their withdrawal from the case.

The attorney switch is subject to the approval of Luzerne County Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr.

Cuadra, 27, and Joseph Kerekes, 34, both of Virginia Beach, Va., were accused of killing Kocis, a rival producer of gay pornographic films, in January 2007 and later setting fire to his Midland Drive, Dallas Township home.

Kerekes pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree murder and other charges and was sentenced to life in prison without parole, the mandatory term for a second-degree murder conviction.

Cuadra refused a plea agreement and is scheduled to stand trial Jan. 5. Cuadra faces the death penalty.

Menn gave notice last month that he planned to resign from the county’s conflict counsel pool by the end of the year, but Olszewski twice rejected his request to leave the Cuadra case, saying a change of attorneys would delay the start of the trial at least six months.

“That’s not going to happen,” Olszewski said Nov. 20.

D’Andrea and Walker could request an extension to familiarize themselves with the case, but Olszewski would not be required to grant it, according to attorneys and others familiar with the case who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of a court-imposed gag order.

If Olszewski were to deny an extension, that decision could not be considered grounds for an appeal, an attorney familiar with the case said.

The lead counsel on all death penalty cases must be certified under guidelines set by the state Supreme Court in 2003.

Walker has death penalty certification. D’Andrea is scheduled to complete the necessary continuing legal education credits by next week.