Traverso, the private Fairbanks lawyer who has represented Cox since March 2011, filed a motion to withdraw as Cox’s attorney. Traverso said Cox found his counsel ineffective and believes it contributed to his conviction last month on charges that included conspiracy to commit murder, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. Traverso also said in the motion that Cox has indicated on numerous occasions that he was not satisfied with the presentation, direct-examination, cross-examination, exhibits, witnesses called on his behalf, and arguments raised during trial.
Although Cox on several occasions blurted out comments to witnesses and the jury during the trial, he never openly criticized Traverso. Making a case for "ineffective assistance of counsel" is also considered a precursor for a possible appeal, but the standard has a two-step litmus test: Was the attorney competent, and if not, was the attorney's poor work directly responsible for the trial's outcome? The barrier is high, and the burden of proof is on the appellant. Cox, who is scheduled to be sentenced on September 14th, has not yet decided whether or not to appeal. Update August 12th: Cox's sentencing date now changed to November 13th.
Those who want to write letters of support to Cox, Coleman Barney, and Lonnie Vernon can find the mailing addresses and protocols in this post.
Some public comments worth noting (after the jump):
americanjoe July 9th 8:30 P.M. (News-Miner):
I know Nelson as I needed legal advice and had a consultation with him about 3 years ago. He is competent and gives good, solid legal advice without trying to inflate the bills, which incidently was also true of Paul Ewers, who was my primary attorney in my divorce. Both are good attorneys. Shaffer has no doubt just come to the realization that he is jail for a very long time and is overwhelmed. But one thing I can tell you: Nelson Traverso is a good attorney and from what I have seen and heard he did his best in this case.
AggressiveProgressive July 9th 6:30 P.M. (News-Miner):
Does anyone find it astounding that a person who hasn't harmed anyone, faces life in prison in the "land of the free"?
Yeah, he's a pompous ass, and yeah, he's full of crap, but does that really warrant life in prison? I don't think so.
To2012 July 9th 5:00 P.M. (Anchorage Daily News):
If Cox '...appeared to have disagreed with most of the trial strategy,' as Traverso alleges, then he should have fired the attorney before the trial started.
This is just another desperate ploy from Schaeffer Cox, one amongst many.
Nothing is going to change the reality that he is headed for a multiple decades-long federal prison stay. He will never get to be a parent to his children or enjoy freedom again at a young age (if ever).
He will never hunt or fish; enjoy a movie, sporting event or a concert; eat in a restaurant; take his kids out for ice cream; celebrate the holidays with family; travel on vacation; teach his children how to ride a bike; attend the wedding, birthday party or funeral of a cherished one; make plans for the future or pick up one of his beloved guns again. His life as he knew it, dreamed of it, is over.
Redemption will only ever allude him unless he faces up to the facts that he is in prison because of his own poor choices. I hope they were all worth it to him--or he is in for a sheltered life filled with torturous angst and the deepest regret, and all ironically under the stifling umbrella of the very federal system against whom he so churlishly threatened and foolishly inveighed.
Nobody except Schaeffer Cox is responsible for his destiny--regardless of whom he tries to blame. It's past time for this felonious, narcissistic troublemaker to grow up.
This last comment is a bit troubling because it implies Cox deserves to be shut away for decades. Explain who he harmed or injured? Absolutely no one.
Did Schaeffer Cox drive an airliner into a skyscraper? NO!
Did Schaeffer Cox blow up a federal building and kill 168 people? NO!
Even if one accepts Cox's conviction of conspiracy to murder, the gravity of the offenses hardly justifies decades in prison. At the most, he would deserve five years in prison, followed by five years probation. The more Uncle Sam sows the wind, the more likely Uncle Sam will reap the whirlwind.