Monday, July 09, 2012

Schaeffer Cox Fires Attorney Nelson Traverso, Says Ineffective Assistance Of Counsel Contributed To His Conviction

On July 9th, 2012, various Alaska media sources reported that Schaeffer Cox has fired his defense counsel, Nelson Traverso, for what is termed "ineffective assistance of counsel". While the Alaska Dispatch has the best story, the Anchorage Daily News and the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner are also useful because of the public comments appended.

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.


  1. When an attorney refuses to do as the defendant who has hired him has asked and does not submit evidence, etc as requested by said employer/defendant. I would call that "ineffective counsel."

  2. Attorneys
    The Legal Profession has no more to do with ‘law’ than the Medical Profession has to do with ‘health’.
    So, when you hear nonsense such as, “practising law / medicine without a licence”, notice that the accused is
    usually practising ‘health’ or its counterpart in ‘law’ where a licence isn’t required. A ‘licence to practise law” is procured
    by an attorney from the client who hires him and, until such time, does not have ‘a licence to practise law’.
    Yes, he has a bar card but this has nothing to do with a licence to take a case which must be obtained from the
    one who hires him. Consequently this is a great question to ask an attorney whom you don’t want involved
    in your commercial affairs. I like to tell them that I don’t give them permission to make a legal determination
    about me, because, until I do, they have no venue or jurisdiction. They are a stray looking for a home. They
    have nowhere near the power they like you to think they have.
    So, you want to be an ‘attorney’; here is your ‘job description’:
    - prosecute on behalf of IRS/CRA in order to imprison one for ‘failure to file’;
    - be appointed to (foisted upon) us by a ‘judge’ upon our being accused of a crime;
    - reject our filing of private documents into the public record
    - initiate and file all criminal complaints (we are prohibited)
    - confiscate property & funds from marital partners; dictate child custody during divorce proceedings
    - regulate private property via land use, planning laws, and codes
    - advise employers to confiscate funds via withholding tax from paycheques

    - approve the confiscation, by Child Protection Agents, of children from their families
    - begin foreclosure proceedings when too many mortgage payments are missed;
    - confiscate property when property taxes aren’t paid;
    - pilfer our estate via probate after our death;
    - turn into a ‘crime’ an activity which has been natural and lawful for centuries, yet, due to current
    legislation, now requires a licence;
    - initiate actions against us for committing a crime which, until recently, was a lawful activity;
    - reap hefty fees for exaggerating personal injury claims causing insurance premiums to sky-rocket;
    - claim to be able to handle personal disputes better than those involved;
    - complicate simple contracts between 2 parties to where they are completely incomprehensible;
    - file unnecessary, embellished paperwork for what would normally be considered simple claims;
    - depersonalize and complicate intimate processes such as adoption;
    - be the only one allowed into a jail cell even though a friend might better assist us;
    - play both sides of the ‘court’;
    - through the BAR police your own, be in charge of accreditation of Law Schools, determine the
    curriculum in Law Schools by granting or refusing accreditation, make and enforce laws designed to
    work only for you, make and enforce statutes which are impossible not to violate because there are over
    60 million of them.
    - be the power behind all agencies which control the rest of us;
    - be a henchman and revenue collector for the IMF/ International Banksters;
    - become ‘power of attorney’ when we hire you (grant you a ‘licence to practise law’), thereby
    rendering ourselves ‘incompetent’;

  3. Super Lawyers is just that - a title - that could be given to any one being refered to by people who knew them or they knew those people. Nothing special in there. Attorney Macon

  4. Seems to me the dems typically overestimate the American voter while the republicans go negative and appeal to the basest human emotional qualities (ie.. fear and nationalistic pride). Has McCain gone a little overboard with Palin? Is this a brilliant move somehow that we just can't see yet or is this exactly what it appears to be?