August 22, 2007

OH: "Judge Plough is absolutely wrong"


Lager planning lawyer's defense - Portage defender confident of win

Portage County's top public defender will be in court Friday to defend one of his employees on a contempt of court charge leveled by Portage County Municipal Court Judge John Plough.

Controversy continues to brew over Plough charging Assistant Public Defender Brian Jones with contempt for refusing to go forward with representing a defendant in a misdemeanor assault case on less than 24 hours notice.

Portage County Public Defender Dennis Lager said his office is "very comfortable in the manner in which we are conducting ourselves and that we are appropriate and correct in our legal and ethical obligations" to clients, and will continue to provide legal counsel to defendants per their Sixth Amendment rights.

"Judge Plough is absolutely wrong. There was no contempt of court by Mr. Jones," Lager said Tuesday, adding his office "relishes the opportunity" to prove it in court...

"Whereas we are officers of the court, we are not pawns of the court," Lager said. "You can't just have counsel sit there like a potted plant and presume to follow the Sixth Amendment."