Jeremiah Gaver demands new attorney
CAMP VERDE - The hearing for Jeremiah Gaver, 30, had no sooner begun Monday when he asked Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Joseph Butner for a new attorney - - a request that was eventually granted.
Butner opened the hearing stating he had received a letter from Gaver indicating that he was firing his public defender, Ms. Alex Harris, and that he wanted to select an attorney of his choice.
"You can't fire this attorney because you didn't hire this attorney. She was appointed to you," said Butner.
But after extensive questioning of Gaver to assess the alleged breakdown in his client-attorney relationship, Butner eventually relented.
Gaver recently was determined to be mentally competent to stand trial on charges related to the March 21, 2015, Cottonwood Walmart brawl that left his brother, Enoch Gaver, 21, dead and his other brother David Gaver, 19, shot and wounded along with former Cottonwood Police Sgt. Jeremy Daniels, now 32.
Since the incident, both his father, Peter Gaver, 56, and mother Ruth Gaver, 53, have been sentenced to three years' probation. Meanwhile, his brothers David as well as Nathanial Gaver, 28, face trials pending their Restoration to Competence. In addition, a 16-year-old boy is also under Rule 11 to restore mental competency while a now-12-year-old girl was deemed "not restorable."
Gaver maintained to Butner that he and Harrison were "unable to agree on anything" and also questioned her integrity, which Butner staunchly rebutted.
Harris believes Gaver's objections center around a March ruling during his mental competency hearing in which the court mandated he take medication as part of his Restoration to Competency program. Gaver had refused to take medications citing religious reasons and Harris was unsuccessful in defending Gaver, despite questioning the constitutionality of forced medication as well as arguing that the medical opinions were divided.
Butner spent nearly 30 minutes attempting to clarify Gaver's objections to his current attorney, but the defendant was reluctant to provide much detail.
"My case is very dynamic and needs a lot of care. I'm not saying a lot because I am saving my case for trial. I understand that my whole life lays ahead of me," said Gaver.
When Butner asked Gaver if the communications breakdown between him and his attorney was irretrievable, Gaver answered "Yes."
Butner followed with, "That's very fundamental to client-attorney relationship. I'm going to find there has been an irretrievable break between you and your attorney," adding, "you don't get to pick who the next attorney is."
When Gaver asked Butner for a bond reduction, Butner replied, "You can talk to your new attorney about that. I'm not going to reduce your bail or any other release conditions at this time."
Butner ordered that a new public defender be assigned to Gaver's case. He also ordered that Gaver's public defender provide case documents to the new attorney. A date of Sept. 26 was ordered for a case management conference to allow the new attorney time to prepare.
Gaver is charged with four counts of aggravated assault, two of resisting arrest, two of hindering prosecution, one count of riot and a misdemeanor assault charge.