DISQUALIFICATION!!!

This conclusive ruling by Judge Marvin Pope caps off a week of big developments in the Matthew Fenner case. Friday, the ruling was made public on rccatalyst.com. Judge Pope granted the State’s motion for disqualification of all attorneys affiliated with Tomblin, Farmer and Morris (TFM). The attorneys listed on the TFM website include Joshua Farmer, Andrea Farmer, Mark Morris and Caleb Farmer. This ruling bars them from representing in any manner in the defense of any of the five defendants.

From the rccatalyst.com article, “The representation of five co-defendants in this cause of action (now four co-defendants) is a concurrent conflict of interest which exists and cannot effectively be waived by a defendant absent knowledge of what a co-defendant may testify on behalf of the State against the remaining co-defendants.”

Additionally, from the ruling, “This disqualification of an attorney does not mean that the attorney has violated a specific disciplinary rule.”

In granting the motion the judge also requested the District Attorney to “calendar a court date for the Court to advise the remaining defendants of their right to counsel, either appointed or a waiver of their right co counsel.”

The ruling requires the three defendants left under TFM counsel to find new representation. Those defendants are members of Word of Faith Fellowsip (WOFF) Brooke Covington, Sarah Anderson and Justin Covington. Adam Bartley, also charged in the case is represented by attorney Robert Denton. Robert Lewis Walker, Jr., also a defendant in the case and a member of WOFF, was seeking counsel at last report.

The next court date known right now is scheduled for September 21,2015 to review motions filed and address jury selection and the change of venue motion filed earlier by TFM. The District Attorney may be able to set a date sooner for the Court’s advisement required in the Judge’s decree. The issues surrounding the Deeds of Trust was not addressed in this article. Maybe more will be learned in the coming days about that problem.

This ruling sets the wheels in motion for a whole new unexpected wash of dynamics to play out during this case. In the back of their minds, how does this shake the extreme confidence displayed at the first hearing of the four defendants who remain a part of WOFF? Who will step up to defend them? This case promises to garner a ton of media attention. It already has. How will this affect those inside WOFF? Will this ruling be the push to casue those who have been considering leaving to make the step out the door? We shall see. Summer of Decision rolls on. WOFFGATE is alive.

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2 thoughts on “DISQUALIFICATION!!!”

  1. Thank you for this latest update. There must be a lot of crying out going on over on Old Flynn Rd this weekend. I believe justice will prevail this time around. Should we expect more pleabargaining? Only time will tell but the leadership missed this risk. Will they go with public defenders now? Arthur

  2. Arthur,

    Officially, there has only been one plea offer. Bartley has not accepted as far as we know. Public defenders don’t seem to fit the profile. Big time lawyers from some big city seem to fit here. $$$ If things go as they did in the Wein case, there will be an appeal. 14 days to file it in Raleigh. This ORDER and Garland Byers wanting to know what “powerful prayer” looks like has JW “unsettled.” Her unordained ministry started with blasting prayer back in the prayer groups in Tulsa early 80’s, right? Suppose she sees this as not only an attack on “the prayer” but an attack on “the church.” Actually, it is a young man seeking justice for being physically attacked by a mob. Check back often. There will be many updates before the trial even starts.
    John

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