Hand v. Houk
DECISION AND ORDER CONDITIONALLY DENYING MOTION TO DISCHARGE COUNSEL - Gerald Hand has moved this Court pro se to dismiss his appointed counsel (Doc. No. 103). This Motion is denied without prejudice to its renewal on the conditions set forth in this Decision and Order. Signed by Magistrate Judge Michael R Merz on 5/31/2011. (kpf1)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
WESTERN DIVISION AT DAYTON
Case No. 2:07-cv-846
Judge Sandra S. Beckwith
Magistrate Judge Michael R. Merz
-vsMARC HOUK, Warden,
DECISION AND ORDER CONDITIONALLY DENYING MOTION TO DISCHARGE
Petitioner Gerald Hand has moved this Court pro se to dismiss his appointed counsel (Doc.
Petitioner is under a death sentence and was appointed counsel under 18 U.S.C. § 3599. He
now seeks to discharge those attorneys (Ralph Kohnen, Jennifer Kinsley, and Jeanne Marie Cors)
because he “does not trust them any more to do the work that is needed to get me a new trial . . .”
Id. PageID 2419.
Petitioner of course has the right to discharge counsel. However, he does not have the right
to have these attorneys replaced with other counsel either of his choosing or chosen by the Court.
Counsel appointed in this case are very experienced criminal attorneys. In observing their filings
in the case and their performance at the evidentiary hearing, the Court has no basis to conclude that
they have not performed in accordance with their professional obligations. Therefore if Petitioner
chooses to discharge them, the Court will not appoint substitute counsel; Petitioner will have the
option of retaining counsel or proceeding pro se.
There is no constitutional right to appointed counsel in a habeas corpus case; the right to such
counsel in a death penalty case is created by statute, 18 U.S.C. § 3599. The statute does not allow
petitioners to discharge appointed counsel at will and then obtain replacement counsel.
Therefore, the Motion to Dismiss Counsel is denied without prejudice to its renewal on the
conditions set forth in this Decision and Order.
May 31, 2011.
s/ Michael R. Merz
United States Magistrate Judge
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