FAIRBANKS, Alaska — Former Alaska militia leader Schaeffer Cox wants a new attorney for his appeal of a 26-year federal sentence for conspiring to kill public officials, among other charges.
Cox wants to replace public defender Suzanne Elliott, he said in a court filing, because of a breakdown in their attorney-client relationship and because Elliott has pursued an appeal strategy that he does not endorse.
Cox, 30, was convicted in federal court in June 2012 of nine felonies that also included possession of parts to assemble hand grenades, possession of a .22-caliber handgun with a silencer, the making of the silencer, solicitation to commit a violent crime and possession of an unregistered machine gun.
Cox severed his association with his trial lawyer, Nelson Traverso, in July 2012, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://bit.ly/1ertg6k ) reported. Elliott was appointed to serve as his attorney for the appeal.
In a statement Thursday to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Cox said Elliott's efforts were ineffective and he planned to file a complaint with the Washington State Bar Association.
He said Elliott planned to ignore avenues he wished to pursue in appeal. He also said that in December, Elliott had damaged the client relationship by claiming Cox was "delusional" in trial testimony.
Elliott's office had no comment on the case.
Cox said in a letter to supporters he wants his appeal handled by Fairbanks attorney Robert John, who defended him against the state version of charges. The case was dropped when a judge disallowed much of a prosecutor's recorded evidence.
John said he respected Elliott but disagreed with her on important defense points.
"She seems unwilling to challenge the actions of the government and its informants," John said. "I think that's kind of a critical aspect of the case because, in my mind, the actions went way beyond what is normally allowed."
Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com