Murder suspect William Cosby won a new trial after trying to remove public defender Charles Baricevic from his case for failing to argue that the drug addiction of former St. Clair County judge Michael Cook corrupted his trial.
Cosby filed a pro se motion to withdraw Baricevic on Aug. 22, writing that his attorney “steadfastly refuses” to raise issues Cosby wanted to raise.
Cosby wrote that the issues concerned Cook’s “conduct, demeanor, impatience and obvious drug problem while presiding over this case.”
He wrote that he would raise more issues after receiving a transcript.
Cosby apparently didn’t know that his message had finally gotten through.
On Aug. 16, Baricevic had amended Cosby’s motion for a new trial to argue that Cook could not have conducted a fair trial.
Baricevic wrote that “criminal activity may have occurred during the course of trial.”
Circuit Judge William Haida denied Cosby’s motion to withdraw Baricevic on Aug. 27, and Baricevic represented Cosby at a hearing on Sept. 18.
Baricevic followed with a brief on Oct. 1, writing that the state was both an investigator of a sitting judge and a party to that judge’s bench.
“It defeats the purpose of a fair trial for one party to litigation to be privy to that information and not another, particularly when the unknowing party is the defendant to a first degree murder charge,” Baricevic wrote.
“The defendant cannot point to a specific instance when Judge Cook was on drugs. The defendant is neither an expert nor familiar with addicts.”
On Oct. 2, Haida ordered a new trial “in the interest of justice.”
He set a status conference on Oct. 30.
Jurors convicted Cosby in April.
Baricevic moved for a new trial on May 15, assigning various errors to Cook.
On May 22, federal agents arrested Cook on heroin possession charges.
Chief Judge John Baricevic, father of Charles, assigned Haida to hear new trial motions from Cosby and in the case of another murder suspect Gregory Muse.
Muse’s public defender, Erin Conner, originally sought a new trial on routine grounds but amended the motion to include Cook’s addiction.
Conner wrote that Cook slurred his speech while instructing the jury.
Haida plans to hear Muse’s motion also on Oct. 30.