The federal judge who will sentence Chuck Turner for his bribery and perjury charges has denied a request to postpone sentencing until at least March.
In an order issued last week, Judge Douglas Woodlock said it's simply too late for Turner to request anything just because he disagrees with one lawyer and wants counsel from another - who just happens to be on an extended overseas stay. Turner is scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 25 on his bribery and perjury convictions.
In a motion seeking a delay, Turner said he needs lawyer Barry Wilson at his side for his final plea before Woodlock imposes a sentence, because he can't agree on a strategy with his in-country lawyer, John Pavlos.
But Woodlock noted that during his trial, Turner testified against Wilson's advice and had Pavlos question him, so it's way too late for Turner to try to play the conflict card. He noted Turner had full control of his defense - and that Wilson told the judge following Turner's conviction that he'd be leaving on a jet plane (and wasn't sure when he'd be back again, but maybe March), so it's not like Wilson's leaving was a surprise.
There is no apparent reason why, having advised Mr. Turner not to testify, Mr. Wilson is somehow in a better position to conduct the sentencing hearing than Mr. Pavlos, the attorney who asked the questions the answers to which the Government contends were improper.
As to conflict and/or disagreement between Mr. Turner and his counsel regarding tactics, the choices made by Mr. Turner must be honored by his counsel. While Mr. Turner is entitled to the unvarnished advice of counsel, it is Mr. Turner, not his counsel, who will make the final tactical and strategic decisions at sentencing, just as it was at trial. That there are disagreements ultimately to be resolved by Mr. Turner is no more grounds to continue the sentencing than it would have been to continue the trial.