Disqualification of WOFF Attorneys Stands
March 17, 2016- Josh Farmer filed an “Appellant’s Motion to Withdraw Appeal” with the North Carolina Court of Appeals. The reasons for the appeal include the fact-
“3. On March 4, 2016- Sarah Anderson retained the independent counsel of Jeffrey Cooper and Benjamin Cooper to represent her in the criminal matter.
4. The remaining appellants, Brooke McFadden Covington and Justin Brock Covington, desire to withdraw their appeal.”
This motion to withdraw allows the Disqualification ORDER of Judge Marvin Pope to stand. Tomblin, Farmer and Morris, now- Farmer and Morris LAW, PLLC or their associates can no longer represent any of the five defendants in any matter related to the indictments/charges in this case.
This clears the way for another court date to resolve pre-trial motions involving change of venue, change of venire as well as keeping Judge Pope for the remainder of the case. It is reasonable to assume the next court date for this case will be within a month.
As a recap, the State of North Carolina obtained five indictments and filed charges from the allegations of Matthew Fenner surrounding the events of January 27, 2013. Those indicted are Brooke Covington, Justin Covington, Sarah Anderson, Robert Lewis Walker, Jr and Adam Bartley. The charges include second degree kidnapping and simple assault for all five defendants. Sarah Anderson has an additional charge of inflicting injury by strangulation. The events were reported during a prayer and deliverance session in the sanctuary of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) in Spindale, NC. (The loud deliverance prayer has been the signature practice of WOFF since 1985, when the leader Jane Whaley returned to North Carolina from Oklahoma with about 25 followers.)
Originally, all five defendants were represented by Josh Farmer and his firm. In pre-trial motions, the State sought disqualification of the Tomblin, Farmer& Morris firm due to conflicts of interest. Judge Marvin Pope agreed and issued the Order in August of last year. Farmer petitioned for a review of the ORDER and was denied a second time on August 27th. On September 15, 2015, Farmer appealed to the NC Court of Appeals. The matter has been on hold waiting for ruling until last week when the Appeal was officially withdrawn.
The dynamics of the case grow more intriguing with Sarah Anderson leaving the confines of WOFF. How will this affect any pre-trial efforts from the Assistant District Attorney Garland Byers? Will there be any additional plea agreements offered to any of the five defendants? Adam Bartley originally refused a plea earlier in 2015. If re-presented, will he accept this time since the direction of the case has changed? We shall see.
So, spring has sprung upon us and the temperatures inside WOFF will be hotter than a summer day in August before long. Will the air conditioning hold up or will they need to bring in fans? I say there will be lots of fans.
2016 – – the Year of Changes rolls on! Remember-You must go through the drama to get to the freedom.
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Scripture references are Amplified Version unless otherwise noted. (Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation ) This is post number 565.