5/18/11 – TG: Alamo fires attorney again during appeals

Texarkana Gazette
May 18, 2011
By: Lynn LaRowe

Alamo fires attorney again during appeals

For the second time since he was charged with child sex crimes in 2008, Tony Alamo has fired Little Rock a t t o r n e y John Wesley Hall.

Alamo first hired Hall following his arrest in September 2 0 0 8 . M o n t h s into his criminal case, Alamo gave Hall his walking papers and went with other counsel.

Following his conviction of all 10 counts listed in a federal indictment accusing him of bringing five women he’d wed as children across state lines for sex, Alamo again hired Hall to work on his appeal. Hall is also listed as the attorney in charge of civil lawsuits filed by former members naming Alamo, the church, high-ranking members and church-owned businesses as defendants.

Monday, Hall filed a motion to withdraw in a civil case scheduled for jury selection May 31. Hall’s motion states Alamo’s wife, Sharon Alamo, told him Sunday her husband wanted Hall “immediately discharged from this case for sure, and likely all other cases involving defendant or the Tony Alamo Christian Ministries, of which there are several.”

Texarkana attorney David Carter said he opposes any action that will delay the trial.

Tuesday, Hall filed a response to Carter’s response noting that he still has a duty to act on Alamo’s behalf until he is discharged by the court.

Hall’s motion complains forcing the case to go forward while Alamo is an inmate of the Federal Correctional Institution in Terre Haute, Ind., would violate his due process rights.

“It would, essentially, result in a default judgment of what is a defensible case just because the defendant cannot get here to defend, and he is not permitted to appear pro se through nonlawyers like his wife,” Hall’s response said.

Hall mentions Alamo’s reported blindness and the expense of arranging his appearance as a hindrance to self-representation as well. If Alamo wants to appear at the civil trial, he would be required to bear the transportation and security costs.

“I suggest that the court communicate with the defendant, either directly or through his wife, what his desires are before forcing this case to trial,” Hall wrote.

Carter’s response to Hall’s default accuses Alamo of firing his lawyer to put off the trial.

“As this court is well aware, defendant has repeatedly discharged his attorneys in this and other cases. As he has done in the past, defendant now seeks to delay these proceedings by attempting to discharge his attorney in the eleventh hour, less than two weeks before trial,” Carter wrote.

Carter also points out that Alamo could have preserved his testimony for trial via a defense deposition but didn’t. Carter did not seek to depose Alamo before trial.

Alamo has given notice to the court that Sharon Alamo will sit as his proxy at the defense table.

In Carter’s Monday response to Hall’s motion to withdraw, he wrote setting a new trial date would be unfair to plaintiffs Seth Calagna and Spencer Ondrisek.

“Plaintiffs’ counsel has incurred significant expenses in order to arrange for travel and lodging of plaintiffs and potential witnesses during trial,” Carter wrote.

Ondrisek and Calagna claim they were starved, forced to work unpaid, denied education and beaten with a wooden board at Alamo’s direction by John Kolbek, Alamo’s now deceased 6-foot-4-inch enforcer. A $3 million default judgment with respect to Kolbek has already been entered in the case because of Kolbek’s failure to answer the suit. Kolbek was a fugitive, wanted for an alleged beating of Calagna, when he died of heart failure earlier this year in Kentucky.

In: 2011

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