The Ottumwa Courier

February 12, 2014

Attorney withdrawals alter two trials

By MATT MILNER
Courier staff writer

---- — OTTUMWA — Defense shakeups are having an effect on two area trials.

Allen Cook has been allowed to withdraw as attorney for Adem Anota. Anota is accused of kidnapping. He was arrested in September 2013.

Cook heads the public defender’s office in Ottumwa. A new public defender, Djalal Arbabha, was appointed to take his place.

Kidnapping is a Class A felony. Under Iowa code, Class A felonies carry a life sentence.

Curtis Dial, the attorney for Kenneth Turner, has also filed paperwork to leave the case. Turner is accused of stalking and violation of a protective order. A hearing is scheduled for Feb. 26 on Dial's request.

While not commonplace, attorneys can withdraw from cases for a variety of reasons after representing a defendant. They may leave to avoid a conflict of interest, or there may be personal reasons for the decision. Steven Gardner and Robert Box withdrew as attorneys for Seth Techel following Techel’s retrial. They cited Gardner’s health, among other reasons, as the basis for the withdrawal.

There were also developments in the case against Raul Ortega III, whose arraignment was rescheduled to Feb. 26. Ortega is accused of interference with official acts and carrying weapons.