On Friday, December 1, 2023, Law & Crime reported that Richard Allen, the man accused of murdering Abigail Williams and Liberty German in Delphi, Indiana in 2017, has petitioned the Indiana Supreme Court to reinstate his original defense attorneys and remove the special judge presiding over his case.
Allen was first represented by attorneys Brad Rozzi and Andrew Baldwin. However, Special Judge Fran Gull took the unexpected step of disqualifying the lawyers during an October hearing, claiming sealed evidence related to the case had been leaked from Rozzi’s office.
Rozzi and Baldwin have disputed Judge Gull’s account, saying they were “ambushed” during a meeting in the judge’s chambers just before the hearing. They argued the meeting was an attempt to coerce their withdrawal from the case against their and Allen’s wishes.
In the petition to the Supreme Court, Allen’s legal team asserts that removing his counsel of choice violates his constitutional rights to effective representation and a speedy trial. They note only Rozzi and Baldwin are prepared for a January 2024 trial date, as originally scheduled, and replacing them has forced a delay until October 2024.
The response from Judge Gull and the State Attorney General’s office maintains she was within her rights to disqualify the attorneys. However, Allen’s filing argues there is no precedent under Indiana law for a trial judge to unilaterally remove defense counsel without good cause.
If reinstated, Rozzi and Baldwin plan to carry out Allen’s “well-developed trial strategy” according to the petition. A ruling from the Supreme Court is pending on whether Allen will regain his original legal team and if Judge Gull should be removed from the high-profile case going forward.
The killing of Abigail Williams and Liberty German shocked the small community of Delphi, Indiana. Allen now awaits trial on two counts of murder, with the latest filings part of ongoing legal disputes surrounding his representation in one of the state’s most widely publicized criminal cases.
Source: Law & Crime