A voluntary manslaughter defendant asked a judge Friday to assign him a new attorney due to ineffective counsel.
Scott Robert Fleming, 30, appeared before Judge Thomas Adams in Santa Barbara County Superior Court.
Judge Adams took Mr. Fleming and his attorney, Deputy Public Defender Jennifer Archer, into a conference room to conduct a private hearing on Mr. Fleming’s “Marsden motion.”
A Marsden motion asks the judge to appoint another attorney because the defendant believes that his Sixth Amendment right to effective counsel is being violated.
After the Marsden hearing, Ms. Archer continued to act as Mr. Fleming’s attorney. Judge Adams continued the case to next Friday and set Mr. Fleming’s preliminary hearing for Jan. 30. During the preliminary hearing, Judge Adams will hear evidence and determine whether it is strong enough for Mr. Fleming to stand trial as charged.
On July 24 Mr. Fleming was charged with voluntary manslaughter in the death of 32-year-old Eric Romero, with enhancements for a second-strike allegation and having a prior serious or violent felony conviction. He pleaded not guilty on July 26.
At 1:20 a.m. July 20, Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies responded to reports of a fight and found Mr. Romero lying on the ground in the 4900 block of 9th Street in Carpinteria.
Mr. Romero was taken to an area hospital in critical condition. He was removed from life support on July 23.
Detectives identified Mr. Fleming as the suspect and obtained a warrant for his arrest
On July 22, detectives from the sheriff’s Criminal Investigations and Special Operations bureaus arrested Mr. Fleming with help from Ventura Police Department officers.