Judge gives murder defendant one last chance before forcing him - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Judge gives murder defendant one last chance before forcing him to represent himself

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LOUISVILLE, Ky, (WDRB) -- A Jefferson Circuit Court judge has decided to give a murder defendant one last chance with an attorney before taking the unprecedented step of forcing him to represent himself at trial.

Jefferson Circuit Court Judge McKay Chauvin ruled Monday that he was giving Percy Brown a "final warning," appointing him an attorney one last time with the "unequivocal understanding" that any more attempts to disrupt or delay the proceeding would lead to him forfeiting his right to counsel.

Brown's murder case has been pending for five years and Chauvin and prosecutors have said it is because Brown has chased away multiple lawyers, firing some and threatening to kill others, repeatedly delaying the trial.

Chauvin has been contemplating forcing Brown to represent himself, which would have been a first for Kentucky.

Instead, the judge assigned attorney Matt Farra, who has been representing Brown on the issue of whether he should be given an attorney, to handle the trial.

However, if Brown has any of the problems with Farra that Chauvin claims he has had in the past, Brown "will represent himself at trial," the judge ruled.

And should Brown "engage in disorderly or contumacious behavior at trial," he will be removed from the courtroom and Farra will represent him without Brown being present, Chauvin ruled.

Brown has been through numerous attorneys since his 2008 arrest in connection with a 2004 shooting that killed 19-year-old Jennifer Nicole French – threatening to kill two of them, refusing to work with others and delaying his trial repeatedly.

"I can't get a lawyer to represent you," Chauvin told Brown in August.

In total, Brown has gone through eight attorneys in the murder and other pending cases.

Authorities have said French was supposed to testify against Percy Brown in connection to fraud charges.

French's mother, Patty Bishop, has called the situation a "never-ending nightmare" and blames both prosecutors and Brown for the delay in the case.

The trial has most recently been delayed again because the lead prosecutor, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Erin White, is leaving the office at the end of the year.

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