Baltimore judge rejects Stokes' lawyer's attempt to be removed from case

Brown says family of his client opposed highly publicized tactics

July 24, 2002|By Allison Klein | Allison Klein,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore judge rejected yesterday a request by attorney Warren A. Brown to relinquish one of his more noted cases - that involving Dontee Stokes, the man charged with shooting a city priest two months ago.

Brown, a vociferous lawyer known for representing some of Maryland's most high-profile defendants, made a formal request in Baltimore Circuit Court to drop Stokes as a client. He said he made the request after Stokes' family protested Brown's publicity-seeking style.

But Judge Stuart R. Berger rejected Brown's request hours after receiving it yesterday, offering no explanation for the denial.

Stokes, who faces nine criminal counts in the May 13 shooting of the Rev. Maurice J. Blackwell, told police he shot the 56-year-old priest because the clergyman would not apologize for sexually assaulting him when Stokes was a teen-ager.

Stokes and his mother declined to comment yesterday.

Brown said the Stokes family found it disagreeable when Brown launched a shouting tirade with a bullhorn last month outside the Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. Courthouse saying the city state's attorney is not investigating allegations that his client was molested by the priest.

"His family didn't like the aggressive approach I've taken against the state, [State's Attorney Patricia C.] Jessamy and Maurice Blackwell," Brown said. "There is a feeling that I shouldn't be antagonizing them."

Brown said the Stokes family believes that if the case did not have such a high profile, the state's attorney's office would be more likely to drop the case.

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