Court transcripts reveal exchange between judge, former attorneys for Delphi murders suspect before withdrawal
DELPHI, Ind. (WNDU) - Court transcripts reveal what led the original attorneys for the man accused of murdering two teenage girls in Delphi more than six years ago to suddenly step down from representing him.
The 29-page document, which was obtained by our sister station WTHR, details the discussion that was had in the judge’s chambers between Richard Allen’s original lawyers, prosecutors, and the special judge in the Delphi murders case before the judge disqualified Allen’s lawyers from the case last month.
Richard Allen is accused of killing Abby Williams and Libby German in Delphi back in February 2017. He was arrested and charged with their murders just over a year ago.
The document reveals that attorneys Bradley Rozzi and Andrew Baldwin discussed concerns over Judge Frances Gull’s use of the word “disqualification” after learning of a leak of evidence from attorney Andrew Baldwin’s office. That leak concerned a friend and former employee of Baldwin had photographed crime scene evidence in Baldwin’s office and then released it without consent.
Rozzi went on to say he had nothing to do with the leak of evidence from Baldwin’s office.
“And I’m not distancing myself from Mr. Baldwin, I’m just saying I have no connection with any of these people,” Rozzi said, referring to those involved in the leak.
Rozzi then goes on to tell the judge there have been leaks on the case from the beginning and he doesn’t see this leak as impacting the case. Both Rozzi and Baldwin ask the judge to discuss the matter at a future point when they can prepare to defend themselves.
Gull told the attorneys “It pains me to say this, but the totality of these circumstances demonstrate gross negligence and incompetence on the part of the defense team.” She goes on to say that she is not satisfied with their representation of Allen and concerned about his rights to have competent, non-negligent representation.
Gull was referring above to the evidence leaks traced back to Baldwin’s staff and the documents the defense team filed without requesting they be under seal despite containing sensitive information.
According to the documents, Gull encouraged Rozzi and Baldwin to have a private conversation among themselves and talk with Allen.
Rozzi then responds, “I mean, obviously reading the tea leaves here, what you’re giving us a chance to do is bow out gracefully, if you will, if that’s the right term.”
Rozzi expresses concern that new counsel for Allen could delay the trial by a year and so, keeping Allen from his right to a speedy trial.
Rozzi then asks for clarification on what Gull intends to do, that she plans to remove them from the case. She responds, “I will, based on what I’ve just shared with you.”
Rozzi and Baldwin then ask to have a moment to discuss the issue privately and with Allen. When they return, they say that Allen does not want them to withdraw from the case. Rozzi then tells Gull he plans to file a motion to withdraw from the case. “I don’t want to do it, but I don’t think that I have a choice at this point,” Rozzi said. “The options I’ve been given without any notice by the Court really are either I withdraw or I’m gonna be publicly shamed and that’s the way I see this.” Rozzi expresses that it feels like a “forced resignation” but he feels like he has been given no other choice professionally.
The attorneys said there is a process for a formal disciplinary claim and that didn’t happen and they were not given the opportunity to properly prepare.
“I also have some common sense and, you know, me going in there and standing my ground because my client wants me to is just gonna make things worse for him, and so I’m gonna withdraw my appearance,” Rozzi goes on to say. Rozzi then states that he feels they were not given proper opportunity to defend themselves.
Gull responded by saying, " Well, I think we talked about. when you asked for a disqualification, and I indicated on our phone conversation I’m inclined to do that.”
According to the documents, Rozzi responds, saying in part, “I’ve seen lawyers disqualified and there is a process for that and it’s not this.”
Baldwin then says he echoes what Rozzi said and that he will also withdraw. “I’m stunned, I don’t know what to say, so I’ll just say I’m moving to withdraw orally.”
Since that hearing, the judge has appointed new attorneys to represent Allen.
Both Baldwin and Rozzi later tried to stay on the case, even offering to help without pay for Allen’s new attorneys, but Gull denied them.
Civil attorneys have questioned the judge’s actions and taken the issue to the Indiana Supreme Court, which will be considering those filings.
Allen’s trial was originally set for Jan. 24, 2024, but is now set for Oct. 15-31, 2024.
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