Lawyer stuns court by quitting James Bond Gang case — and all others

ONLY ON CLIFFVIEW PILOT: In a stunning development rarely seen in a courtroom, the trial of two principles in the notorious James Bond Gang burglary case was postponed after one of the defense attorneys temporarily suspended his law practice as jury selection was about to begin.

Photo Credit: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia

Presiding Superior Court Judge Liliana DeAvila-Silebi told Justin Christodoro that his decision to withdraw from the case required him to resign all of his cases.

“That’s no problem, your honor,” he responded.

Christodoro (above, left) later told CLIFFVIEW PILOT that his decision was “the ethical thing to do.”

His experience with a previous defendant — including what he said was intimidation — “changed me as a lawyer,” he said. “[It] affected me personally, and affected my family.

“I can’t do things for [defendant Aasim Boone] that I know I should, that when I was younger I would have,” Christodoro said.

Boone wasn’t the only person unhappy with the day’s course of events.

Renaldo Sheffield, his co-defendant, raised several issues with the judge regarding motions that he said “should have been made.”

“I expected today that these motions would be heard,” Sheffield, who previously tried to strike his own plea bargain with prosecutors told DeAvila-Silebi.

“I have the right for these motions to be heard.  Mr. Boone’s attorney hasn’t put the motions in, my attorney hasn’t put the motions in – it’s going on for a year and a half, and now no trial,” he said, rattling off a list of legal actions he has filed, including a motion alleging insufficient evidence against him.

Judge DeAvila-Silebi assured Sheffield the motions will be heard next week.

“These would have been heard today, these and any other motions associated with the trial,” she said, “but we have this unfortunate situation with withdrawal of counsel that requires all of Mr. Christodoro’s cases be assigned to new attorneys.”

At the same time, the judge warned Boone to “make sure” his new lawyer “knows the case is starting next week.”

Jury selection is scheduled to begin next Tuesday.

It was supposed to begin today before the attorney had a private conference with the judge that last well over half an hour.

The proceeding was adjourned for nearly two hours before Christodo’s surprise announcement came.

“I just couldn’t do it,” he told CLIFFVIEW PILOT tonight.

STORY / PHOTO: CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter Mary K. Miraglia

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