Michael Penn / Juneau Empire
Juneau District Court Judge Keith Levy clearly shows his frustration over Park Myers' decision to terminate his laywer in favor of a court-appointed public defender during Wednesday's court hearing to deal with findings that Myers had prior convictions. Myers plead guilty to negligently shooting a wolf Sept. 22, 2009, at the 35-mile mark out the road with a rim fire cartridge and giving the wolf to a non-resident friend to seal; negligently setting a black bear bait site without first obtaining a lawful permit May 14, 2010; and failing to validate his 2010 black bear harvest tag after the kill.
A Juneau man accused of violating conditions of probation stemming from his conviction for big game hunting violations asked his attorney to withdraw within an hour of his scheduled court date.
Park Myers III stated in Juneau District Court before Judge Keith Levy that it was “unfair to continue the services” of his attorney David Mallet “when I cannot afford to pay him.”
Levy stated he was a little bit frustrated that he was not informed about the activities between the state and the defense concerning the change of counsel.
“So the no one asked the court?” Levy asked.
David Mallet, appearing by telephone, said the decision was made at 7:45 that morning, just 45 minutes prior to the hearing’s start.
Also appearing by telephone was attorney Jeffrey Sauer, representing alleged victims of Myers who say they are affected through his killing of the black wolf affectionately known as Romeo.
State’s attorney Amy Williams said the state was ready at any time although one witness was presently unavailable.
Myers said he has very little income doing boat repair and maintenance.
Levy asked Mallet if there would be Fifth Amendment implications from Myers financial statements as the charge he is facing concerns receiving funds while on unemployment. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution bars, among other things, requiring a defendant in a criminal case to testify against himself.
“I have to inquire about what his income is,” Levy said.
Myers said he has filed for bankruptcy and owes $305,000 on a house assessed at $250,000.
“I am not firing him, he is a good man,” Myers said of Mallet. “It is just not fair for Mr. Mallet to represent me if I cannot pay for him.”
Williams did not oppose and Mallet said to Levy, “Judge, I think that the filing of bankruptcy speaks for itself.”
Myers was told to obtain a financial affidavit from the clerk of the court who would inform the public defender’s agency to attend Myers’ representation hearing at 8:30 a.m. today.
Myers was convicted, along with hunting companion Jeffrey Peacock of multiple big game violations including bear baiting without a permit, unlawful possession of game and unsworn falsification in the shooting of the black wolf called Romeo.
The incidents occurred from May 2009 through May 2010.
Peacock received 18 months suspended jail time, a $2,000 fine and three years probation with loss of hunting privileges. Myers received 330 days in prison, all suspended and $12,500 in fines, $7,500 suspended. He was also ordered to pay restitution of $1,100, forfeit of three rifles and to have his hunting privileges suspended during his three-year probation. Both had other charges dismissed.
• Contact reporter Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.