Lake County judge removes absent attorney from murder case
By Ruth Ann Krause Post-Tribune correspondent July 6, 2012 5:02PM
Updated: August 8, 2012 6:11AM
Lake Superior Court Judge Clarence Murray removed the lead defense attorney from a life-without-parole murder case because the lawyer had missed hearings after being ordered to attend.
“My patience is wearing thin. I’m removing Alger Boswell from this case, effective immediately,” Murray said, because of Boswell’s failure to attend hearings.
Two months ago, the judge admonished Boswell that both he and co-counsel Derrick Julkes must attend all future hearings for Rochell Johnson. Julkes said he did not know why Boswell wasn’t present at Friday’s hearing.
Johnson, 34, of Gary, has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, neglect of a dependent, battery and other counts in the April 28, 2010, beating death of her boyfriend’s 5-year-old son, Leon Walker.
Co-defendant Leon DeNeal Burns, 30, also has pleaded not guilty to the same charges.
On May 23, more than two years after the charges were filed, Boswell filed notice that he intended to interpose an insanity defense for Johnson. Deputy prosecutor Jamise Perkins objected to the filing. Murray found there was no good cause in filing the motion beyond the deadline in the rules governing criminal court procedure, but the judge agreed to certify the question so the defense could file an interlocutory appeal with the Indiana Court of Appeals.
If the court agrees to take up the issue, it could be one year or longer before there is a decision.
Murray told Julkes that if Boswell had some justification for why he missed Friday’s hearing, he should file something with the court for consideration at the next hearing on Aug. 3.
Boswell, the son of Lake Superior Court Judge Diane Ross Boswell, couldn’t be reached Friday afternoon at his law office.