WILKES-BARRE — A sentencing hearing scheduled for Wednesday for a man who pleaded guilty to third-degree murder and other charges has been continued to Nov. 1.
Mitchell Dedes, 18, of Hazleton, was scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday on the murder charge and charges of kidnapping and robbery in the August 2012 death of 29-year-old Aaron Reznick.
Dedes’ attorney, Demetrius Fannick, said he has a scheduling conflict and needed to reschedule the sentencing hearing.
Judge Richard Hughes set a new date for Nov. 1.
Prosecutors allege Dedes and Breon Judon, 20, also of Hazleton, robbed Reznick of an iPhone, ordered him into the trunk of his car and repeatedly kicked him. Reznick died nine days later of injuries he sustained.
Judon was found guilty Monday of second-degree murder and five other related charges and is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 9.
WILKES-BARRE — A Luzerne County senior judge will soon make a ruling in a lawsuit involving the former Chief Public Defender Al Flora and the county.
Senior Judge Joseph Augello heard arguments from attorneys in the case after attorneys for the county asked that Flora’s attorneys be removed from the case, citing professional misconduct.
Attorney John Dean said in court papers recently that Flora’s attorneys should be dismissed for violating the state Rules of Professional Conduct and contacting potential plaintiffs in the case.
Flora filed the suit in April 2012, claiming the Public Defender’s Office was so underfunded and understaffed it could not provide adequate defense to indigent clients. The situation had become so dire, Flora argued, he was compelled to limit the type of cases the office would accept. That left more than 300 defendants to face charges without an attorney as the county failed to provide an alternate source of legal representation, according to the lawsuit.
Several new plaintiffs were recently added to the suit, and the county filed its preliminary objections to have the suit dismissed in recent days.
Dean said in a filing that, after much consideration, the county decided to make the request to have Flora’s attorneys removed because they contacted potential plaintiffs already represented by the county Public Defender’s Office.
Dean calls the actions “serious and egregious ethical violations” and notes state law says: “A lawyer shall not solicit in person or by intermediary professional employment from a prospective client with whom the lawyer has no family or prior professional relationship when a significant motive for the lawyer’s doing so is the lawyer’s pecuniary gain.”
Augello also heard argument regarding the county’s request to throw out the lawsuit on a number of grounds.