The three assigned counsel ask to be relieved – but fail to state any reasons
The trial day began with motions by the three assigned counsel Heer, Stahl and Sturm that they be relieved of their duties. As for the “reasons” for these motions, they simply relied on a “professional affirmation” in their capacity as lawyers that “serious reasons”, as required by the courts for relieving assigned counsel, existed. They claimed not to be able to say more due to attorney-client privilege, adding that they were unable to counsel their client to waive it. Counsel Sturm added that Zschäpe was “partially” aware of the reasons. After several interruptions, statements by parties etc., the presiding judge finally denied the motions.
It was clear that the motions were without a chance of success simply as it did not contain any reasons. Clearly, the professional affirmations of counsel were not sufficient – first of all, it is quite unclear whether it is possible to affirm a legal conclusion – that “serious reasons” exist. And most importantly, just a few weeks ago and in reaction to Zschäpe’s motion to relieve counsel Sturm of her duties, the three had claimed in detail that there were no reasons for relieving her. Continue reading