Skip to comments.Mistrial declared after lawyer hits client
Posted on 07/17/2002 9:23:04 AM PDT by Printers Angel
Lawyer Christopher T. Cicero has been having trouble keeping clients lately.
On Friday, a judge removed him from a death-penalty case because the state plans to call Cicero as a witness against his client.
Yesterday, he was accused of striking a different client during an argument in the courtroom about which witnesses to call in the man's murder trial.
Although the jury was not in the courtroom at the time, Franklin County Common Pleas Judge John P. Bessey declared a mistrial and said he will report Cicero's conduct to the Ohio Supreme Court's Disciplinary Counsel.
Witnesses said Cicero might have been provoked, but that meant little to Bessey.
"I don't care how serious the verbal provocation was,'' the judge said. "I just can't see any justification for that type of conduct by an attorney.''
Bessey did not witness the incident, but those who did said Cicero and his client, Michael Gordon, got into a heated discussion at the counsel table after the trial had been recessed about noon.
As Gordon was being led from the courtroom by Franklin County deputies, the argument escalated.
"(Gordon) said to Chris, 'If I didn't have this stun belt on, I'd kick your fat ass,' '' said Darrell Felty, Bessey's court reporter.
Norma Mitchell, Bessey's bailiff, said, "Cicero ran over there before deputies could do anything and just reached over top of them and, with an open hand, just smacked the guy in the head.''
Gordon was examined by a nurse after complaining of dizziness and a headache. The nurse noted redness and a slight swelling on the right side of his forehead, according to a report.
Cicero admitted going after Gordon but denied hitting him.
"I never got a chance to get to him because there were two deputies in between us,'' Cicero said.
He described the incident as words spoken in the heat of the moment.
He said he wants to continue to represent Gordon. But Bessey said he declared a mistrial when Gordon said he no longer could work with Cicero.
Gordon's trial began last week. The 24-year-old is charged with murder in the death of Daniel Lee Cole, 21, a Grove City man whose body was found at the former trash-burning power plant five years ago. A second man also is charged in the slaying.
Gordon already is serving 137 years without a chance of parole in a federal prison. He was convicted in March 1999 on 14 robbery-related charges.
"His future is pretty well controlled,'' Bessey said. "As a result, he is not an easy person to work with.''
Gordon was observed during a recess last week chastising Cicero for not objecting to a prosecutor's question.
Bessey, who said he could not recall presiding over another case in which a lawyer had hit a client, will hold a brief hearing today to see whetherGordon wishes to represent himself or wants the court to appoint another attorney. A retrial is expected in two months, Bessey said.
Last week, Common Pleas Judge Patrick McGrath told Cicero he could not represent James T. Conway III in the capital-murder case in which Conway is accused of shooting an Ohio State University student.
Prosecutors said Conway used Cicero's cellphone to call a man he had hired to kill a witness in the murder trial.
Conway allegedly made references to the hit during the phone conversation that took place in front of Cicero. Prosecutors plan to call Cicero as a witness.
sounds like something Moe would do to Curly....
Who here wouldn't have cheered if Johnny Cochran had taken the bloody glove over to OJ and slapped him silly?
Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk
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