Judge Removes Murder Defendant’s Attorneys

During a status hearing on Feb. 28, a judge removed defense attorneys from a homicide case due to a conflict of interest.

Cedric Selinus Alexander, also known as Tony White, 47, is charged with first-degree murder while armed, robbery while armed with a firearm, and unlawful possession of a firearm during a crime of violence for allegedly shooting Daquan Hooks, 38, on March 23, 2017, on 1900 block of 13th Street., SE. 

Alexander’s attorneys, Jacqueline Cadman and Roderick Thompson, said they may have a conflict of interest and, if so, could not continue to represent Alexander.   

The nature of the conflict was not explained. 

The prosecution said he found it to be surprising that defense counsel would choose to withdraw from a case they’ve had for 1.5 years with only a few months before trial.

“I like these lawyers and I don’t want new ones”, said Alexander. 

The defendant spoke to Cadman and Thompson, saying it was not in his best interest to throw in another lawyer. “I don’t like this at all”, said Alexander. 

DC Superior Court Judge Ronna Lee Beck said her decision was not based on whether Alexander wanted to retain counsel.

After a call between the US Attorneys Office and the Public Defender’s Service, Judge Beck decided that the conflict was too great for Cadman, Thompson or anyone in the Public Defender’s Service could represent him. 

According to Leah H. Gurowitz, director of media and public relations at DC Superior Court and DC Court of Appeals, if the Public Defender’s Service is conflicted, they do not take the case and instead a Criminal Justice Act Attorney is assigned to it. She told D.C. Witness March 4 that it is not unusual, especially in co-defendant cases.  

Judge Beck also said she would inquire about whether she could make arrangements with someone on the criminal justice panel to represent Alexander. 

Alexander’s trial date is subject to change depending on who his new defense attorneys would be. 

Alexander is scheduled for an ascertainment of counsel on March. 6. 

This article was written by Lea Gianasso.