A Douglas County judge on Friday removed both the prosecutor and defense attorney in the case of a man accused of seeking to kill a witness while awaiting trial for aggravated robbery.
District Court Judge Stacey Donovan removed Senior Assistant District Attorney David Greenwald and defense attorney Adam Hall, saying both had made statements that could potentially affect ongoing cases against Darren Henry. The attorneys had each filed motions alleging improper conduct against the other.
Henry, 29, was arrested in June 2020 in connection with an armed robbery reported at a Lawrence convenience store in September 2017.
In November 2021, authorities executed a warrant to search Henry’s Douglas County jail cell, which led to a new charge of soliciting “the intentional and premeditated killing of another person.”
“This is an important issue and a novel one to this court,” said Donovan, who was sworn in two years ago Sunday. “It is the court’s duty to protect the integrity of this case.”
In a court filing, Hall said the documents that were seized from Henry’s jail cell went beyond the scope outlined by the warrant, which stated that police were seeking “unredacted discovery paperwork.” He alleged that the search was more sweeping and included documents protected by attorney-client privilege. Hall filed motions seeking to keep authorities from examining the confiscated documents, and to suppress evidence that he asserted was seized illegally.
Prosecutors responded that the seizure was part of an “ongoing criminal investigation,” and disclosing information about what was taken would impede law enforcement and potentially reveal a confidential source. Greenwald then filed a motion to sanction Hall and remove him for allegedly providing Henry with unredacted court documents that contained personal identification information about witnesses in the aggravated robbery case.
Donovan declined to sanction Hall, saying that he was not in violation of discovery statutes, but she did believe assertions made by both attorneys might hinder the case moving forward. She told Henry that the dismissals were in the interest of fairness to both the court and to the defendant.
“The court also needs to protect your rights,” Donovan said. “The court’s concern is how the process has gone.”
Hall and Henry exchanged notes on a piece of legal paper as Donovan made her ruling. After the attorneys were dismissed, Hall asked the court to consider assigning Angela Keck to the case, but Donovan said she was bound to follow the prescribed order for court-appointed attorneys.
Henry then asked the court if he could represent himself, telling Donovan that he was worried about the qualifications of potential attorneys and their ability to understand the history of the case as it moved forward.
“I’ve been in jail for two years,” Henry said. “I can’t take just anybody. I need the best your court can give me.”
Donovan indicated the court would assign a new defense attorney to represent Henry, who remains in custody of the Douglas County Jail on $150,000 cash or surety bond in the solicitation case. His next hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, April 5.