Defense Files Motion to Continue 2015 Murder Trial

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Seven weeks before a murder trial was scheduled to begin, defense attorneys told a DC Superior Court judge that they would not be available. 

On July 20, Rasheed Murray’s attorneys, Jeffrey Stein and Mani Golzari, filed a motion to push the Sept. 5 trial date back because they had another trial on the same date. Stein told Judge Milton Lee that the other trial was scheduled before the public defender’s office placed him on Murray’s case.  

Co-defendants Murray and Ryan Thompson are charged with second-degree murder and reckless driving for their alleged involvement in the death of 24-year-old Matthew Roth at the intersection of 16th Street and Madison Street, NW in 2015. Murray, 31, is also charged with driving under the influence.

Judge Lee questioned why Stein and Golzari brought the scheduling conflict to his attention a few weeks before the trial date. Furthermore, Judge Lee said he believed the public defender’s office thought he would grant the continuance based on the fact that the defendant in the other trial is being held in jail while Murray and Thompson are currently released under the High Intensity Supervision Program.

Golzari told the judge that the issue was not “cut and dry.” He said he spoke with staff at the public defender’s office about the possibility of giving the case to another attorney that was available. However, Golzari said he believes reassigning the case would infringe his client’s constitutional right to a fair trial. Golzari said a new lawyer would not be as prepared as himself and Stein.

The prosecution argued against the delay, saying the defense knew about their scheduling conflict earlier and failed to notify the court. 

Thompson’s attorneys, Todd Baldwin and Rebecca Bloch, did not favor or argue against the delay.

Judge Lee gave the defense a week to find new counsel for Murray.

Murray and Thompson are scheduled for a trial readiness hearing on July 27.

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