Judge to make call if attorney can participate

Published 11:34 am Friday, September 19, 2008

GREENUP, Ky. — The motion to add an Ohio attorney to the case of Steve Shaffer, who faces felony charges for his role in removing the famous Indian Head Rock from the Ohio River, is now in the hands of the judge.

On Sept. 4, Mike Curtis, the Ashland, Ky., attorney representing Shaffer, filed a motion to add Portsmouth attorney David Beck to his defense team. Beck had represented William Glockner, also of Portsmouth, in the Greenup grand jury proceedings that resulted in the indictment against Shaffer in June.

Shaffer was indicted for his role in removing the famous rock, an 8-ton sandstone artifact covered with historic carvings. That is a Class D felony and the Ironton historian faces 1-to-5 years in prison.

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Because of the association between Glockner and Beck, Commonwealth Attorney Cliff Duvall filed an objection the next week calling it “an obvious conflict” if Beck joined in Shaffer’s defense.

If that happened it “would rightfully draw criticism and generate a lack of confidence in the Court’s workings,” Duvall wrote in court documents.

Wednesday afternoon Curtis presented his response to Duvall’s objection during motion hour before Circuit Judge Bob Conley.

Curtis also asked to postpone the first pre-trial in the case until Oct. 23. It had been set for Oct. 16. The actual trial date for the case is expected to be set then.

Afterwards Curtis said he sees no conflict because Glockner is not a defendant nor does Curtis expect to call him as a witness. Glockner was a passerby who saw the Indian Head Rock being pulled out of the river at the time Shaffer and other divers brought it to the surface last summer.

“His knowledge is limited,” Curtis said.

Curtis wants Beck as co-counsel because of Beck’s familiarity with the case and the volume of paperwork it has generated.

A ruling from Conley is expected in a week to 10 days.