Judge Denies Murder Suspect’s Fourth Request for a New Attorney

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In a contentious hearing on May 22, DC Superior Court Judge Maribeth Raffinan denied murder defendant Sherman Holley’s request for a new attorney.  Had the judge agreed, it would have been his fourth lawyer on this case. 

In response, Holley accused the judge of “bias towards me and denying my constitutional rights.”

Holley, 46, is charged with second-degree murder while armed for his alleged involvement in the death of 53-year-old James Brooks Jr. The incident occurred on Jan. 15, 2023, on the 200 block of 37th Street, SE.

According to court documents, surveillance footage shows an individual approaching and “lunging” at the victim, who was then stabbed in the chest, shoulder and back areas. 

At the beginning of the hearing, Holley refused to identify himself for the record as Judge Raffinan requested.  Then his current attorney, Megan Allburn, said Holley wants yet another attorney on the grounds that she’s not immediately available to go to trial as Holley demanded.

Judge Raffinan ordered a criminal responsibility evaluation last month to determine if Holley is mentally competent to stand trial.  The judge pointed out that Allburn is Holley’s third attorney and that he “doesn’t have a right to a specific attorney.”  

Holley objected, saying that his second attorney, Andrew Ain, resigned and that he “removed” Jesse Winograd as legal counsel. 

Judge Raffinan denied Holley’s hand-written “pro se” motion in April requesting the appointment of a new prosecutor in his case as well as turning down his request to dismiss the charges against him. Holley claimed his “Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendment” rights were being violated in the document.

However, the judge ordered Allburn to continue representing Holley. 

Given the parties scheduling conflicts, Judge Raffinan set Holley’s trial date “as soon as possible” for Feb. 17, 2026.  To which, Holley complained he’d already been waiting 17 months. He has another felony matter trailing this case. 

A status hearing in the case is set for August 1.

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