A D.C. Superior Court judge said yesterday that he found no "inadequacies" or "excesses" in the performance of two court-appointed defense attorneys in a murder case in which a fellow judge had declared a mistrial on grounds the attorneys had acted ineffectively.
After reading the entire trial transcript, Judge Eugene N. Hamilton said he found that "all parties" acted "vigorously, alertly and accurately" during the proceedings last April before Judge Nicholas S. Nunzio.
After three days of testimony, Judge Nunzio declared a mistrial, saying the conduct of two of the three defense attorneys, O.B. Parker and Robert Liotta, prevented their clients from getting a fair trial. Judge Nunzio then fired the two men from the case.
The case was later assigned to Judge Hamilton who reappointed the two lawyers to the case after determining that their clients were satisfied with their representation.
Judge Hamilton's comments about lawyers' conduct came yesterday during a hearing in which he dismissed defense motions that to hold another trial would subject their clients to double jeopardy - being tried twice for the same crime.
In order to avoid the double jeopardy question, so that the case can be tried again, a mistrial must be requested by defense attorneys or the court must find there was "manifest necessity" to do so.
Judge Hamilton said yesterday that while he did not think that there was such necessity in the first case, the mistrial was declared "pursuant to a very definite request and acquiesence" of defense counsel at the time.
The judge rescheduled the case for trial Nov. 1.
The defendants in the case, Calvin Lewis Braxton, 22, Gene Arthur (Buster) Braxton, 28, and Darnell Lee Washington, 22, are accused of murdering James Marshman, 39, who was slashed and stabbed to death outside a bar and grill at 9th and L Streets NW on Oct. 10, 1975.