Sunday, November 12, 2006
The court removed, in the middle of trial, one defendant as a result of his attorney asking to withdraw from the case. The Washington Post reports here that the court allowed former PurchasePro Inc.CEO Charles E. Johnson Jr.'s attorney to withdraw from the case despite the fact that they were three weeks into the trial. Even when at attorney argues an ethical issue and asks to be removed from representing a defendant, courts seldom permit this to happen if the trial has commenced. In contrast, ethical concerns raised to courts prior to the commencement of trial can be a basis for recusal and in some cases a delay in the trial in order for the accused to secure new counsel. Some courts are reluctant to allow mid-trial withdrawals for fear that defendants will abuse this process in order to secure separate trials. The reasons for the mid-trial withdrawal in this case remain under seal.