Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Harrell Wants Off Of Sheley’s Defense Team

Public defender Jim Harrell filed a motion on January 15 in Knox Count Circuit Court to withdraw as one of the attorneys in the capital case against Nicholas Sheley. In the motion, Harrell claims there has been a “total breakdown in the attorney-client relationship” that would prevent him from effectively representing the defendant.

Sheley has been at odds with his attorneys throughout this case. In 2008 Sheley wanted to fire his attorneys and represent himself. After numerous hearings and several psychiatric evaluations he withdrew the request.

In addition to the murder case, Harrell represented Sheley in a 2009 aggravated battery trial. Sheley was charged last spring, after an incident at the Knox County jail in which three officers were injured. Sheley was found guilty and sentenced to seven years in prison. He is serving time in Pontiac Correctional Center. Sheley tried unsuccessfully to fire Harrell and represent himself in the battery case as well.

Harrell’s motion requests that attorney Jeremy Karlin be appointed lead counsel and another attorney be appointed co-counsel. Because Sheley faces the death penalty if convicted of killing Ronald Randall of Galesburg, any attorney representing him in this case must belong to the Capital Litigation Trial Bar. There is only one other lawyer in Knox County besides Harrell and Karlin who is a member of the Capital litigation Trial bar, his name is Anthony Vaupel. Vaupel has a private practice in Galesburg. There has been no word as to whether Vaupel will join the case. John Hanlon of Springfield who is already a part of the defense team is also qualified to be appointed as co-counsel according to the Capital Litigation Trial Bar Roster. He practices out of the Office of the State Appellate Defender.

There will be a hearing February 9 at 3 p.m. on Harrell’s Motion to Withdraw. Sphere: Related Content


  1. Good job. Legal Pub did a story some time ago. Please let us know when the appeal is done. Seems like similar issues will be dealt with in the Drew Peterson case.

  2. Thanks LP. This case is very similar to the Drew Peterson case. The hearing build held now is basically a forfeiture by wrongdoing hearing although i don't think that's the name in IL. ??

    I really would have liked to attend some of this hearing in the Peterson case but haven't been able to due to other obligations and distance....closing arguments tomorrow though I hear the judge won't disclose his ruling until trial....maybe I can attend some of the trial.