‘Firebug’ comment spurs lawyer change

| September 16, 2011

The law does not guarantee a "meaningful relationship" between a defendant and his court-appointed attorney. The fact the defendant is unsatisfied, uncomfortable, or unhappy with his representation does not necessarily warrant the court to appoint new counsel.

However, in the case involving Victor Rudolph Clegg Jr., the Burlington man authorities say started the April 16 fire that gutted the Union Baptist Church, both he and his attorney, James Carter, had some role in the breakdown of their relationship.

District Court Judge Cynthia Danielson ruled Clegg "perceives that his current attorney has been unresponsive and that the breakdown in communication will result in an inadequate defense."

"It would appear, however, that this breakdown is mutual, given the defendant's refusal to fully participate in depositions," Danielson said.

"Unreasonable demands and expectations are not grounds for continued appointment of substitute counsel when they are not met.," Danielson explained in her ruling.

Clegg told the judge Monday Carter has once referred to him as a "firebug."



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Category: Church Security

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