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Bryan Kocis Murder Case: Judge denies attorney’s request to withdraw from Cuadra defense team

Wilkes Barre, Pa- Attorney Stephen Menn will not be permitted to withdraw from the defense team representing accused killer Harlow Cuadra, despite his planned resignation from the county’s conflict counsel pool, Luzerne County Judge Peter Paul Olszewski Jr. said Thursday.

“The issue for you to resign from your position with the county as conflict counsel and your request to withdraw as counsel on this case are separate and distinct,” Olszewski said.

Cuadra and co-defendant Joseph Kerekes are charged with the January 2007 killing of Bryan Kocis in Dallas Township.

Their trial was scheduled to start on Sept. 2, but the withdrawal of two other attorneys, Mark Bufalino and Paul Galante, forced a delay until Jan. 5, 2009.

Another attorney departure would delay the trial at least six more months, Olszewski said.

Menn said he would file a formal motion to withdraw from the case and indicated he could appeal Olszewski’s decision to a higher court.

“You can make any motion you want,” Olszewski said. “My obligation is that fairness prevail over this trial and that this case be tried in a timely and competent manner.”

“All I know is, you’re in, you’ll continue to be in and I know you’ll be prepared and ready to go,” Olszewski told Menn.


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