In a sometimes rambling pleading, captioned "Comment," Richard Chichakli filed an extensive list of what he alleges were negligent acts of his court-appointed standby counsel, Marlon Kirton, committed both in preparation for, and during his criminal trial. The defendant, who chose to represent himself Pro Se, is seeking a New Trial, Pursuant to Rule 33. Standby counsel, however, is appointed to assist defendants who choose to be their own attorney, and only on a limited basis, to navigate procedural and technical matters. He is not trial counsel.
(1) The defendant wanted a Speedy Trial, but Kirton asked for, and received, additional time to review the extensive discovery on the case.
(2) Counsel's visits interfered with the defendant's religious observance of the Sabbath.
(3) Counsel failed to demand production of the required discovery within the 30 day period.
(4) Counsel did not devote enough time to trial preparation, and only visited the defendant after business hours, when he was on his way home. Counsel promised that he would spend more time working on the case, with the defendant, when it got closer to trial, but failed to do so.
(5) Counsel failed to subpoena defense witnesses.
(6) Counsel failed to make proper use of court-allocated human resources, namely experts.
(7) Counsel failed to testify personally, at trial, about what the defendant describes as illegal payments* of money and of other items, made to him, and Viktor Bout, by the United States, notwithstanding that he was sanctioned by OFAC. Of course, one cannot act as counsel, and also testify, in a criminal proceeding; Mr. Kirton would have been required to withdraw first.
Every defendant is entitled to competent counsel, but in this case, the defendant represented himself, and only had counsel for procedural matters. He cannot have it both ways; if he wanted counsel to work up his defense, and try the case, he should not have represented himself. Somehow, it looks like someone other than Mr. Chichakli is preparing these pleadings, and they do not have a legal education. Using jailhouse lawyers is generally unwise, and ineffective, from the results that I have witnessed. It is axiomatic that one simply cannot blame standby counsel for not trying a case where he was only appointed to assist, not represent, the defendant.
Does Richard Chichakli simply want to retry his case, now that he is familiar with the government's case, this time using a full-time lawyer ? We cannot say, but it's a good guess.
* It would be interesting to learn the details of cash payments, and the delivery of other items of value, to Chichakli, and probably Viktor Bout, by US Government agencies, while OFAC sanctions were in effect. This sounds like Chichakli's efforts to expose operations that he and Bout engaged in, for the United States, where certain agencies do not want those details to be made public. This comes back to the original issue,; just how extensive was the work performed by Viktor Bout, and Richard Chichakli, for America's intelligence community, and what exactly did two known arms traffickers do for the United States, and where ?