Attorneys Step In "Pro Bono" To Help Judge Steelman As Public Defender Garth Continues Recusal Motions

Friday, August 24, 2012
Attorney Mitch Carter volunteers to take case for Judge Barry Steelman
Attorney Mitch Carter volunteers to take case for Judge Barry Steelman

Criminal Court Judge Barry Steelman, whose cases have been piling up since Public Defender Ardena Garth began filing recusal motions en masse, got some help Friday.

It was arraignment day in which a large new batch of public defender cases were on the docket.

Ms. Garth was in the courtroom continuing to step aside on all new cases, saying in an earlier motion that Judge Steelman has been "venomous" toward her office.

Attorney Bill Speek said he lined up a group of lawyers willing to handle the cases without charge.

He said, "I just didn't want people sitting in jail for another 28 days before they would get another attorney appointed."

Attorney Speek said he handled a couple of Steelman public defender cases, including one "who was just charged with misdemeanors. I was able to set his cases quickly."

Those on the Speek list included his partner Gerald Webb, Christy Mincy, Stan Lanzo, Mary Sullivan Moore, Keith Black, Lloyd Levitt, Clancy Covert and Mike West.

When the list was announced, several other attorneys in the courtroom stood up and said they wanted to be included also.

During the arraignment, other attorneys approached the bench from time to time and told Judge Steelman they would work "pro bono" as well.

The judge began taking advantage of the multiple offers and began parceling out indigent cases to the volunteers.

Judge Steelman has set a hearing for Monday afternoon on the recusal motions.

Public Defender Ardena Garth at defense table
Public Defender Ardena Garth at defense table

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