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Teenager accused in Halbach murder may get new lawyer

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New Richmond, 54017
New Richmond News
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New Richmond Wisconsin 127 South Knowles Avenue 54017

The teenager accused along with his uncle Steven Avery in the rape and murder of a 25-year old photographer may soon have to get a new lawyer.

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The state public defenders office has de-certified attorney Leonard Kachinsky for not being present last May while police interviewed his client, 16-year old Brendan Dassey.

Deborah Smith of the public defender's office says she took the action after Steven Avery's attorney, Dean Strang, alerted her office that Kachinsky had violated a cardinal rule for defense attorneys: always be present during a police interview.

Smith says it's "really basic" for the attorney to be present and to fail to be there is a lapse in performance.

She says the Supreme Court has performance standards that attorneys have to provide competent representation and letting police talk to a defendant without the attorney being there is not competent representation.

During that police interview, Dassey confessed to helping his uncle Steven Avery rape, murder and burn the body of Teresa Halbach last November. He has since recanted that confession.

It will be up to the trial judge whether to dismiss Kachinsky as Dassey's attorney because of the de-certification, but it does mean he won't be appointed as a public defender for people facing serious felony charges in the future.

Smith says her office always takes into account how punishing lawyers may disrupt the trial of defendants but in this case she had no choice.

She says in this case, the failure was so fundamental in the basic right to counsel that they had to bring it to the attention of the court and take action.

Kachinsky says he will appeal the action. It's the first complaint ever brought against him in the more than 20 years he has handled cases as a public defender.

Kachinsky is scheduled to be in court next Friday to argue for holding Dassey's trial in November instead of February. Steven Avery's trial is set to begin in mid- October.

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news@hudsonstarobserver.com
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