Trial Delayed in Oklahoma Death Penalty Case

The trial for accused first degree murderer Joshua Durcho was originally scheduled to begin on September 13, 2010.  However, after his court-appointed Oklahoma criminal defense lawyers withdrew from the case citing conflict of interest,  a judge agreed to delay the trial. 

Murder Trial Rescheduled

The delay comes in an effort to allow the defendant's new attorneys to review the case.  With only a month between taking the case and the scheduled start of the trial, Durcho's new Oklahoma defense team would not have enough time to adequately prepare for a murder trial. 

Durcho, like every other American citizen, is entitled to a fair trial.  Adequate defense is part of that right. Joshua Durcho is charged with five counts of  first degree murder in the strangling deaths of his girlfriend, Summer Rust, 25, and her four children:  Kirsten and Autumn Rust, each 7 years old; Teagin Rust, 4; and Evynn Garas, 3. 

He faces the death penalty if convicted. While reports do not identify the conflict of interest in which Durcho's original attorneys were involved, conflict of interest within the Oklahoma County Bar Association’s Legal Aid Committee are fairly common. 

Sometimes, a Legal Aid attorney will represent a client in one issue and will later be called to represent the client in a different matter.  If the first case provided privileged information that could impact the outcome of the second case, a conflict of interest arises. 

This happens so frequently that the OCBA Legal Aid Committee established a "conflicts panel" to try to resolve such issues and refer clients to a pro bono attorney. Durcho's original Oklahoma defense lawyers are a part of the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System.