MADERA COUNTY – A Coarsegold couple convicted on a combined 27 counts of arson were back in court on Monday, asking for new lawyers.
Kenneth Jackson and Alice Waterman both requested Marsden hearings, whereby they asked that their court-appointed attorneys be dismissed and replaced, either due to ineffective assistance of counsel, or because there is some conflict between lawyer and client.
Defendants who hire their own attorneys are free to fire them at will, but not so when they are appointed by the court. Just cause must be presented to the judge, who makes the decision as to whether or not a court-appointed attorney will be replaced.
No one is allowed in the courtroom during a Marsden hearing except the client, his or her lawyer, the judge, bailiff and court reporter. Also, the transcript of the proceedings is sealed, so neither the outcome nor the reasons behind the request are made public.
However, when court resumed later on this day, defense attorneys Craig Collins and Greg Gross were still at the defense table, so one can infer that the motion was denied.
Both Collins and Gross will be filing motions for a new trial, and Judge Dale Blea instructed them to have those motions filed by July 25, allowing time for the prosecution to respond by Aug. 4.
The Aug. 1 sentencing date has been rescheduled for Friday, Aug. 8.
Jackson and Waterman were found guilty of arson and conspiracy on May 1, 2104, in connection with a string of fires in the Yosemite Lakes Park area during May and June of 2013. Jackson was also convicted of resisting arrest and assault on a peace officer.
Jackson faces 32 years in prison and Waterman is looking at more than 12 years behind bars.