Pedraza’s Attorney Files Writ with State Supreme CourtOctober 9th, 2012 by Joe Burgess
Last week in the Drew County Circuit Court, attorney Jeff Rosenzweig, representing Daniel Pedraza, was denied a continuance by Judge Bynum Gibson in Pedraza’s capital murder case, for the death of his 2 year old step-daughter Aubriana Coke.
Issues involved in the motion for the requested continuance include: Pedraza’s military service and a possible diagnosis of PTSD; the need to contact Pedraza’s family members in Mexico, about possible mitigating circumstances stemming from his childhood; and whether a member of Pedraza’s defense team (serving as an investigator for Pedraza in the case) could testify as a witness in an ex-parte hearing, due to attorney-client privilege.
Prosecuting attorney Thomas Deen responded the state has a right to be present at any such hearing, adding that the defense is using a team member attorney as their document research analyst, which is unfair.
Judge Gibson denied the motion for continuance, telling the courtroom, “an ex-parte hearing would put a judge in the role of an advocate for the defense and take away any impartiality that the judge would have.”
After the hearing attorneys Rosenzweig filed a notice of appeal and intention to seek a Writ of Certiorari with the Arkansas Supreme Court, asking it to review the decision by Judge Gibson to deny the continuance of the trial, based on sealed privilege documents and rulings in regard to lawyer-client privilege.
The jury trial date for Pedraza is set for the week of October 22.