April 10, 2014Detroit — Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Vonda Evans announced at a hearing in her courtroom Friday, April 4, she is having trouble finding an attorney willing to take on Bob Bashara as a client as he goes to trial for the murder of his wife.
Bashara requires a court-appointed attorney, as he has told the court he is destitute and cannot afford to hire an attorney.
"I've been working on this and quite frankly, attorneys don't want to take the case," Evans said.
The judge said she is "limited to assignment list" attorneys, meaning those attorneys who will take cases for indigent clients with their fee paid by Wayne County.
The announcement brought a flash of temper from Bashara when Evans asked him if he was all right.
"No, I'm not all right, your honor," Bashara snapped. "This is ridiculous."
Bashara was silenced by his current court-appointed attorney, Lillian Diallo.
Diallo was appointed by Evans last month as part of what was to have been a three-person defense team that was to include prominent defense attorneys David Cripps and Gabi Silver.
However, Cripps and Silver were removed from the case at that hearing less than an hour after being appointed following a private session with Evans and prosecutors.
They were officially withdrawn from the case Friday by Evans, following a request by noted criminal attorney James Thomas, who was in court on behalf of Cripps and Silver.
"They have a potential for conflict and wish to be taken off the case," Thomas said, while not giving details of the conflict. Evans granted the request.
Bashara, who was charged in May 2013 with the January 2012 murder of his wife, was represented by a public defender and was scheduled to go to trial March 3 on seven counts, including first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder. However, just weeks before the trial was to begin, Evans, at Bashara's request, removed his public defender from the case and told Bashara she would appoint, again at Bashara's request, Cripps to represent him.
At a hearing last month, Evans set a new trial date of Oct. 6. On Friday, Evans said in spite of trouble finding a new attorney for Bashara, she expects the trial to start this fall.
Evans set a hearing date for Tuesday, April 15, at which time she will announce Bashara's new attorneys. At an earlier hearing, Evans said she is authorized to spend up to $200,000 on Bashara's defense.