Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Murder suspect Andrew Irwin will be back with original attorneys for retrial

POSTED: April 27, 2010
LISBON - A man who won a new murder trial in part because of ineffective assistance by his hired attorney now has the same two attorneys who originally were appointed to his case in 2006.
Judge C. Ashley Pike of Columbiana County Common Pleas Court appointed attorneys Carl Joseph King and Jennifer Gorby to represent Andrew Irwin during the retrial scheduled for Sept. 21.
Since he's been found indigent and unable to hire his own counsel, the county must provide counsel for him. He had been found indigent the first time around, too, but then his father hired George Kafantaris to represent him, knocking King and Gorby off the case.
Irwin, 28, formerly of East Liverpool, was convicted of murder in the August 2006 stabbing death of 21-year-old Emily Foreman in her Liverpool Township home. He was sentenced to prison in 2007 for 15 years to life, but his conviction and sentence were overturned on appeal, with ineffective assistance of counsel listed as one of the reasons. Kafantaris has since been disbarred for life due to his dealings with clients in Trumbull County.
During the trial, Kafantaris had been found in contempt by Pike on two separate occasions due to his actions in court. He recently served 20 days in the Columbiana County Jail for the contempt citations, right around the same time that his former client was returned to the county from prison.
Irwin's appellate attorney had suggested the court appoint someone from the Ohio Public Defender's Office in Columbus to represent him for the retrial, which Pike did, but then the attorney appointed to the task asked to withdraw, which Pike approved recently.
"Given the facts at issue in Mr. Irwin's case, he would be better served by local counsel who can interact with Mr. Irwin and his family, and investigate his case, without facing the barrier created by the time it takes to travel from Columbus, Ohio to Columbiana County, Ohio," Senior Assistant Public Defender Gregory Meyers wrote in his motion.
The cost to the county would have been greatly increased if he had remained on the job, due to the time it takes to get from Columbus to here and the fact that Meyers would have to be paid an hourly rate.
King and Gorby were appointed as members of the Criminal Defense Company, a nonprofit group of attorneys who act as public defenders as part of a contract with the county. The county pays one sum for the contract to cover the cost of public defenders for the year for all courts.
A motions hearing remains set for 1 p.m. Thursday, with a status hearing set for 3 p.m. Sept. 3.
Irwin remains in the Columbiana County Jail with no bond set. Meyers had filed several motions, including one asking the new trial be moved to another county and one asking the court to stop law enforcement, jail personnel, inmates and anyone else from talking to his client about the case.

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