Sleeping Lawyer Claim Denied
Posted Aug 24, 2007 8:00 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Alfonso Williams, convicted of cocaine and crack charges, contends his trial attorney slept through his trial—and produced six witnesses who backed up his allegations.
But the judge who presided over the 1997 trial in the Northern District of New York doesn’t remember it that way. Judge Rosemary S. Pooler of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals relied in part on her own recollections, the New York Law Journal reports. Pooler had been designated to hear Williams’ motion to vacate his conviction, which claimed ineffective assistance of counsel.
Williams’ attorney, Stephen Lance Cimino of Syracuse, N.Y., denied he was napping. He did admit to some medical problems, including a sinus headache during one day of jury selection and an infection during trial that caused a temporary hearing loss in one ear.
Poole said the trial transcript showed Cimino was actively engaged in Williams’ defense, evidence backed by her own recollections.