PD’s Office Conflicts, Death Penalty Issues, Regional Conflict Counsel Discussed at Loyd Status Hearing

Lee Herald Favicon 16Having appointed the Public Defender’s Office to serve as secondary counsel, Chief Judge Frederick J. Lauten was informed, by the PD’s Office, that conflicts exist in the Markeith Demangzlo Loyd case.  These conflicts require their removal as standby counsel.

Discussions regarding pro se representation, competency and standby counsel sprinkled the proceedings with more questions than answers as Markeith Loyd sat uncharacteristically silent in the jury box.

Chief Judge Lauten ordered a competency evaluation to ensure that Loyd is both capable of pro se representation and competent to stand trial as per Florida statutes.

Judge Lauten asked Regional Counsel to investigate potential conflicts so as to allow their appointment as standby counsel.  Should conflicts exist, standby counsel will be chosen from the wheel…a random mechanism for appointing private attorneys in the event of conflicts.

Additionally, questions arose regarding the governor’s removal of Orange-Osceola County State Attorney Aramis Ayala and her replacement with Lake County State Attorney Brad King.  This matter was not resolved during today’s status hearing.

Today, Ayala appeared in court and indicated that she plans to investigate, and potentially appeal, the governor’s decision to remove her office from the Loyd case.  Ayala filed a motion for a stay in the case while this matter is addressed.  Lake County, Brad King, claimed to be unaware of the motion and indicated that he does not believe that Ayala has the authority to contest the governor’s appointment.  This matter was tabled and will be discussed at the next hearing.

At the request of the Lake County State Attorney’s Office, Markeith Loyd was once again asked if he wished to represent himself.  His answer raised concerns about his ability to appropriately do so.  Loyd indicated that, in addition to his visible eye injury, Loyd claims to have a “brain” injury and broken bones (jaw, nose) as a result of interaction with the police during his arrest.  Loyd’s mere mention of a potential neurological issue will force extensive competency testing, especially in a pro se situation.

As these matters, combined with Loyd’s self-representation and his sovereign citizen argument, create the basis for future appeals, both Judge Lauten and the prosecutor appear to be taking painstaking measures to appropriately address these matters.

With the now familiar black eye-patch covering his left eye, Loyd complained about the treatment he is receiving and a loss of privileges inside of the jail.  Judge Lauten reminded Loyd of a prior conversation at which time the judge apprised the defendant that having counsel would facilitate the resolution of such issues.  Despite repeated recommendation, the accused murderer continued to insist upon self-representation.

The Lee Herald will continue to monitor this case and will provide updates.

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Image: OCSO

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