OMAHA — A judge overseeing the sentencing of a former Omaha doctor convicted of four murders has admonished the public and private attorneys representing him, suggesting their courtroom squabbles resemble a schoolyard.
"Gentlemen, we are not in third grade," Douglas County District Judge Gary Randall told the Nebraska Commission on Public Advocacy and legal group Team Motta on Thursday. "I told you you had to work together. ... You both have an ethical responsibility to discuss the matter."
Randall ordered the groups to collaborate as counsel on Anthony Garcia's impending sentencing.
Robert Motta of the Chicago-based legal team said it "has no intention" to withdraw as counsel, but the commission said it plans to file for the removal of the group in as early as a week.
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Neither Team Motta nor the commission's attorneys have been able to communicate with Garcia to find out whether he wants the private attorney group to stay on the case or hand it off to the state agency. But Motta added that Garcia hasn't yet indicated he doesn't want them to represent him.
Jeff Pickens, chief counsel with the commission, said that if the Chicago team were a part of the case then the defense wouldn't be able to bring up whether Garcia received effective legal counsel in the trial.
"If ordered by the court, we will work with Team Motta," Pickens said. "There is a possibility that the commission will file a motion to proceed without Team Motta based upon ethical rules, but we're not in a position to do that at this point."
Garcia, a former doctor, was found guilty in October of murdering four people between 2008 and 2013 as apparent revenge for his 2001 firing from Creighton University's pathology department.