Thursday, March 17, 2011

Attorney Removed from Family Secrets Trial Appeal by Chief Judge

Update: The Shark is back on the Case.

Chicago mob boss Frank "The Breese" Calabrese Sr., sentenced to life in prison for seven gangland slayings in 2007's Operation Family Secrets, has lost his appeals lawyer.

Attorney Joe Lopez, who represented Calabrese in the landmark mob case, was to handle his appeal. On March 4th, the chief judge for the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Frank Easterbrook, ruled that he will appoint another attorney because Lopez "left his client in a lurch."

After requesting numerous extensions to file his opening brief, Lopez missed the final deadline offered by the court. When the court asked Lopez why he should not be relieved from representing Calabrese, Lopez responded that he had delegated the opening brief to attorney Robert Caplin, who was retained as trial council.

Caplin told the court that due to economic strains, he could not put the brief ahead of paid work. Judge Easterbrook called the men "unprofessional" and as a result relieved Lopez and Calplin as appellate lawyers on the case. Both men will be ineligible for future appointments and will be placed on a list of lawyers who, when handling paid appeals, will not be allowed more than two extensions of time to file openings.

The court will appoint a replacement to represent Calabrese, 74, who is been held in solitary confinement or "special administrative measures" (SAMS) since 2008.

Thanks to Ann Pistone and Chuck Goudie

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