Kingman; 04 June, 2014: Michael Anthony Rivers is accused of murder and his trial date is set for July 29. The trial date stayed on the calendar Thursday afternoon because Judge Steven Conn refused his attorney’s request to leave the case.
River’s defense attorney Stephen Duncan expressed to Conn that the relationship between the attorney and client had reached the point that he could no longer properly prepare for the case. Duncan stated, “I have irreconcilable conflicts with my client.” Duncan also said, “I don’t believe I’m able to assist in the preparation of a defense any longer.”
Duncan noted that Rivera has ignored his advice in regards to the communication with the court and the prosecutors of the case. Duncan said, “We have two contradictory opinions on how to proceed,” and “There are definite irreconcilable conflicts and it’s impeding my ability to practice law. I have other clients.”
Bob Moon, Deputy County Attorney had a conversation with Conn and feels that Duncan did not give an adequate amount of information to warrant his request. Moon gave Conn information on case law which showed how a defendant’s actions may cause him to give up their right to counsel, but the judge ruled that Rivera’s behavior was not to blame.
Conn stated, “This sounds like old news to me,” and “I thought we were proceeding along to trial … I haven’t received communication from the defendant for months.” Conn mentioned that Rivera’s conduct in the courtroom has been polite. Conn stated he was “troubled” by the suggestion that Duncan’s law practice is inept.
Conn debated whether Duncan may have “bitten off more than he could chew.” All of the laws that he read in regards to the withdrawal of attorneys from their cases were not useful for Duncan’s argument. Conn recognized the following before disallowing the request from Duncan: “He may not be the easiest client and this isn’t the easiest case to defend.”
Authorities charged Rivera with killing Nickolaus A. Gerenscer Jr. with his car. The crime was committed on Nov. 24, 2011 near the victim’s home on Valentine Avenue. Gerenscer was dating Rivera’s stepdaughter. Witnesses say that Rivera hit Gerenscer twice at high speeds. The same witnesses also said that Rivera hit the victim at high speed and turned around so that he could strike Gerenscer again while laying on the ground. Although Rivera told the Kingman Police that his intentions were not to kill the victim, the statements of the witnesses state otherwise.
Rivera is facing first degree murder charges, two attempted first degree murder and two aggravated assault charges.
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