Update: Judge David Wesley has granted a defense motion for a Monday hearing to permit Anand Jon to dismiss his attorneys and represent himself. Wesley indicated that he will allow Jon's request to act as his own attorney. See motion here:
Anand Jon, the Indian-born fashion designer who was convicted of multiple counts of sexual battery last November, has requested the court to allow him to dismiss his high-octane defense team and represent himself. Earlier today one of those attorneys, Ronald Richards of Beverly Hills, sought permission from Judge David Wesley to let Jon represent himself, but the request was denied. Moments ago L.A. Daily received a copy of a motion Richards was about to submit to the court formally requesting that Jon be allowed to dismiss his attorneys.
In his motion, Richards, who claims Judge Wesley declared that any such motion for discharge should be made at Jon's August 31 sentencing hearing, cites cases that affirmed the right of non-indigent defendants to dismiss their retained counsel. Richards later told the L.A. Weekly that Jon had telephoned all of his legal team's members, who include Leonard Levine and Donald Marks, to inform them of his decision to act as his own attorney.
"He said he wanted to represent himself," Richards said, adding that there are benefits for an unsentenced prisoner to do so. "If you're going without a lawyer it's easier -- you have access to the law library and other aspects of your case, which he doesn't have now. I think a policy of direct engagement will assist this defendant."
There's another side to Jon's acting "pro se," one that gives his
attorneys a little more lattitude of expression. If they are released
from representing him, they will be free to publicly comment on the
case, something they are now barred from doing. This would come in
particularly useful Tuesday when, Richards says, Jon's sister, Sanjana
Alexander, plans to stage a protest outside the courthouse's Temple
Street entrance between 10 and 11 a.m.
This past Monday, after Judge Wesley ended the defense's six-month campaign to have Jon's conviction set aside by denying its motion for a new trial,
he announced he was going to cite Alexander and juror Alvin Dymally for
contempt of court, for having violated Wesley's ban against outside
communications during the trial.
Even if Judge Wesley grants
Richards' motion before August 31 and Jon is allowed to represent
himself, the fashion designer will not be completely rudderless in
court, since his current lawyers would be allowed to act as standby
counsel. It may be a gamble, but one whose loss now seems to entail
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"He's basically just sitting in jail right now,
facing 162 years to life," Richards said. "It's not going to get any
worse for him."