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Cops and Courts

Lawyers pile up for Sheffield Lake man accused in police standoff

  • 020719-ROBINSON-PRETRIAL-KB03

    Martin Robinson appears in court Thursday for a hearing.

    KRISTIN BAUER / CHRONICLE FILE

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ELYRIA — Martin Robinson will not be losing his retained attorney after all in the latest twist in the Sheffield Lake man’s legal drama.

Last week, Robinson, 40, had one attorney who had been retained on his behalf withdraw from the case less than a day later. The following day, Reid Yoder, an attorney who said he was retained by Robinson’s father, appeared before Common Pleas Judge Chris Cook and said he likely would withdraw from the case due to his client’s refusal to waive his right to a speedy trial.

On Monday, though, Yoder informed Cook that he would be remaining “on the case serving as Mr. Robinson’s counsel of record,” according to an email to Cook’s office. That decision leaves court-appointed attorney John Toth hanging in limbo.

In a ruling last week acknowledging Yoder as the counsel of record for Robinson, Cook said he was ordering Toth to remain as co-counsel. Cook also said that even if Robinson objects to Toth’s “continued representation, he shall hereafter be designated as ‘stand-by counsel.’”

During the hearing last week, Yoder said he didn’t believe he would be able to “get up to speed and try the case” by the Feb. 20 trial date, which Cook said he likely would not change even if Robinson waived his right to a speedy trial.

During the hearing Thursday, Robinson said in open court that he would waive his speedy trial rights, but Cook said it probably wouldn’t change the date of the trial since the court, prosecutors and defense attorneys all have moved their schedules around to accommodate Robinson’s demand for a speedy trial.

“As of right now, today, it’s not going to change my decision to keep this trial set where it is,” Cook said at the hearing. “I’m not going to inconvenience the court or the parties 13 days before this trial.”

Cook told Robinson to have his attorney file a waiver of his speedy trial rights, but according to a memorandum filed by Toth in court Monday, Robinson still is refusing to do so.

In the memo, Toth acknowledged that Robinson told the court he would waive his right in the hearing Thursday. Toth said he went to Lorain County Jail to explain “speedy trial rights in greater detail” Thursday evening.

Toth then drafted a written waiver to file with the court since the “trial is less than 10 days away” in hopes that the court might push the trial date back, according to the memo. When Toth presented the waiver to Robinson at the jail Sunday, though, Robinson refused to sign the time waiver, according to court documents.

Robinson was indicted on 22 felony counts for allegedly shooting and seriously wounding Amherst police Officer Eugene Ptacek in May during a SWAT standoff at Robinson’s home.

By refusing to waive his right to a speedy trial, a Robinson must be tried within 270 days of his arrest, or 90 days if he’s incarcerated.

He also asked for a court-appointed attorney, despite objections to it from prosecutors who said Robinson had at least $300,000 in assets as of June and could certainly afford an attorney. Cook granted Robinson’s motion and appointed Toth to the case.

Contact Scott Mahoney at (440) 329-7146 or smahoney@chroniclet.com. Follow him on Twitter @SMahoneyCT.


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