The judge overseeing a New York man’s murder trial on Wednesday ordered the defendant against future “outbursts” in front of the jury, and denied his request to remove the lead attorney from his defense team.
Carine Reeves, 40, has been accused of shooting Sally Shaw, 55, to death in Cherryfield in July 2017. His trial is the first Maine murder trial to be held after the coronavirus shuttered courts in March.
On Tuesday afternoon, Reeves’ attorney, Stephen Smith of Augusta, was questioning the state’s key witness, Quaneysha Greeley, when Reeves interjected that his lawyer was not asking the questions he wanted asked.
On Wednesday, Superior Court Justice Harold Stewart allowed Reeves to list his concerns with his representation and allowed Smith to respond. Afterward, Stewart ruled against Reeves’ requests to remove Smith from his legal team and represent himself.
“They’re going to continue representing you,” Stewart told Reeves, referring to Smith and attorney Jack Baldacci. “I am giving you the order to not have any outbursts in front of the jury.”
If Reeves did not follow this order, Stewart said, he would be removed from the courtroom.
When Reeves first complained about his representation in the courtroom on Tuesday, it was in front of the jury. He asked the judge to remove Smith from his legal team, and instead let Baldacci lead witness questioning.
On Wednesday, Stewart let another defense attorney, David Bate of Bangor, advise Reeves on how he wanted to proceed. Bate presented Reeves’ list of complaints, alleging that Smith removed someone from the witness list, discussed trial strategies with the state and didn’t examine all the available evidence.
Bate said that Reeves had not consented to being recorded by Smith when they spoke, and had complained that he had not been shown all the state’s evidence that Greeley had seen prior to her testimony.
After allowing Smith to respond, Stewart found that the attorney had done nothing that warranted his removal from the defendant’s legal team. He also denied Reeves’ request to let Baldacci take over.
“Attorney Baldacci going solo as a lead attorney is a non-starter,” Stewart said.
Finally, Stewart ruled that he would not allow Reeves to represent himself, because the right to represent oneself after the trial has begun is limited, he said, and the effect on the jury would be significant.
The jury was not in court Wednesday while the conflict over representation was resolved.
Smith declined to comment.
Reeves’ trial is expected to continue into next week, with COVID-19 precautions such as mask-wearing and social distancing in place.