Granting a motion filed by Danjczek, Circuit Judge Patricia Kelly said in a Wednesday bench ruling that she would appoint a special prosecutor to handle cases in which Danjczek appears, reports the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Four cases were postponed, apparently pending the appointment.
The DUI manual dispute erupted following a Friday court hearing before General District Judge Robert Reibach. Danjczek was representing the defendant in a driving-under-the-influence case and an assistant prosecutor from the Commonwealth Attorney’s office was representing the state.
In a court filing, Commonwealth’s Attorney Anthony G. “Tony” Spencer wrote that after the hearing concluded, he had asked Danjczek where she had gotten the DUI manual she had with her at the hearing. He had been looking for a copy of the instructional guide to give to his assistant before the hearing, but couldn’t find his office’s copy.
Danjczek said she got the DUI manual from the Commonwealth Attorney’s office, Spencer wrote. She had briefly worked there as an intern in 2009.
When Spencer demanded the DUI manual back, Danjczek refused. He said. “I demanded that she return it, and she refused. Her refusal indicates her intention to permanently deprive my office of the DUI manual,” Spencer said in an arrest warrant he filed against Danjczek. Her lawyer, Vincent Robertson, says Spencer then shoved his client and grabbed the book after it had reportedly been placed on a courtroom table. “The evidence should be that [a] charge of strong-armed robbery will be appropriate under these circumstances,” attorney Vincent Robertson Sr. told the station.The incident prompted the judge to take possession of the DUI manual, according to the newspaper.
State police are now investigating Danjczek’s allegations that Spencer forcibly took the guidebook from her. (Don’t they have better things to do? Shouldn’t they be worrying about terrorists and drug dealers?)
Meanwhile, following the Friday hearing, he obtained an arrest warrant against Danjczek for petty theft from a magistrate judge, claiming that she improperly obtained the handbook sometime between October 2009 and this past week. An Aug. 28 hearing is scheduled in the criminal case.
Danjczek alleged in a court filing that she was a victim of larceny; assault and battery; and disorderly conduct, the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star reports.
She argued in her filing seeking to bar Spencer from cases in which she represents the defense that “the prosecution of criminal matters involving attorney Danjczek by the Caroline County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office pose a clear conflict of interest, or alternatively, could create the appearance of an impropriety.”
In a responsive filing, Spencer said, “There is no evidence that the Caroline Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office will not seek fairly and impartially to see justice done for defendants represented by Ms. Danjczek.”
Someone needs to talk to both sides to dial it down. Obviously there has been a hardening of the attitudes. Someone needs to intervene (a respected judge, for instance, or maybe a boxing referee). Have each side back off and play nice. It’s people like this that give lawyers and the justice system a bad name. —Mace