LIMA — Judge Jeffrey Reed had heard the story before.
Hearing it again Thursday may have been the straw that broke the judge’s back.
When Lima resident Brandon Thompson, facing felony charges that include involuntary manslaughter, complained during a pre-trial hearing Thursday that he has barely met with his court-appointed attorney since his arraignment more than a month ago, the judge could no longer hide his displeasure.
Appearing for Thursday’s hearing with his court-appointed attorney, Athena Nyers, Thompson said he was “in a fight for my life here” and told the judge he was getting little assistance from his lawyer as the case heads rapidly toward the start of a jury trial.
Asked by Reed to describe his relationship with Nyers, Thompson said, “This is my first time seeing her.”
Nyers said that was not true, and the attorney and her client continued to squabble about the frequency of their visits — or lack of frequency — until Reed stepped in.
“I’m not going to get into an argument here,” the judge said. “Mr. Thompson, do you want another attorney?”
“If they will fight for me, yes,” Thompson replied. “I’m gonna need someone else.”
After agreeing to appoint a new attorney to represent Thompson, Reed let his frustrations boil over.
“I’m getting tired of attorneys not meeting with their clients,” the judge said to no one in particular. “This cannot continue. I’m not picking on Miss Nyers, but attorneys need to document when they meet with their clients.”
The 29-year-old Thompson was arraigned in Allen County Common Pleas Court in April on charges of involuntary manslaughter and trafficking in cocaine in connection with a drug-related death more than two years ago.
He was indicted in January by an Allen County grand jury on the involuntary manslaughter charge, a first-degree felony, for allegedly causing the death of Cordero Baines on or about Christmas Eve 2016 during a drug transaction.
The trafficking charge, a fifth-degree felony, alleges that Thompson sold or offered to sell “a controlled substance or controlled substance analog and the drug involved in the violation is cocaine … in an amount less than five grams.”
A July 9 jury trial has been scheduled in Thompson’s case. Reed said a new court-appointed lawyer will be appointed within a day or so.