A Baton Rouge man serving a life prison term in a fatal 2011 shooting in Spanish Town was granted a new trial this week by a state appellate court that said the jury's guilty verdicts were not irrational but the man was denied his right to the lawyers of his choice.
The 1st Circuit Court of Appeal reversed Cardale Green's second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder convictions Tuesday, threw out his sentences -- life plus 30 years -- and sent the case back to the 19th Judicial District Court for a second trial.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said Wednesday his office will ask the Louisiana Supreme Court to review and reverse the appeals court's right to counsel ruling.
Green, 30, was found guilty in 2015 in the drug-related slaying of Derrick Casey, 28, on Gracie Street. He also was convicted of wounding Casey's acquaintance.
A little more than two years after his co-defendant was acquitted, Cardale Green was found g…
Green's co-defendant, Mark David Young, 41, of Baton Rouge, was acquitted of the same murder and attempted murder charges in 2013.
Young was represented by lawyers Joel Porter and Tiffany Foxworth, whom he hired.
A defendant is not entitled to a specific lawyer when the lawyer is appointed.
Green was initially represented by court-appointed lawyers before he announced he was hiring Porter and Foxworth, who filed a motion to enroll as his attorneys.
Prosecutors objected, saying it would be a conflict of interest for Porter and Foxworth to represent both men. Porter argued there were no antagonistic defenses or conflicts because Young's case was not tried simultaneously with Green's, and because Young had been found not guilty.
State District Judge Don Johnson, who was presiding over the case at that time, allowed Porter and Foxworth to enroll as Green's attorneys. The state appealed that ruling and also filed complaints against Porter and Foxworth with the Louisiana Attorney Disciplinary Board.
Porter and Foxworth then filed a motion to withdraw as Green's attorneys, to which Green objected. After the 1st Circuit and state Supreme Court affirmed Johnson's ruling allowing Porter and Foxworth to enroll, Johnson granted their motion to withdraw. But Porter immediately asked the judge orally to reconsider that ruling, but he refused.
Johnson later denied a written motion from Porter, Foxworth and Elton Heron to re-enroll as Green's attorneys.
Green's trial attorney was Robert Tucker, who was appointed by the court.
The 1st Circuit on Tuesday agreed with Green that he was denied his right to be represented by his lawyers of choice.
"We acknowledge the significance of that right, but we stand by our position that the right to counsel cannot be manipulated," Moore, the district attorney, said Wednesday.
Moore said the right to counsel must be exercised at a reasonable time, in a reasonable manner and at an appropriate stage of the case.
In its ruling Tuesday, the 1st Circuit said "nothing in the record suggests that Porter or Foxworth were attempting to manipulate the proceedings."
Porter predicted Wednesday that Moore's office will lose its appeal.
"A defendant has a right to a lawyer of his choosing if he's paying for it," Porter said.
Porter said he intends to sit down with Green's family before he decides whether to represent him.
State District Judge Beau Higginbotham, who presided over Green's 2015 jury trial, still presides over the case.