Defendant Motions to Fire PD, Who Questions Competence of Client


By Stephanie Boulos

SACRAMENTO, CA – Defendant Douglas Thumm made no bones about it—he wanted to fire his court-appointed public defender and made an oral motion to do so in Sacramento County Superior Court late last week.

In the end, Judge Michael Sweet heard the “Marsden” motion, but ruled against Thumm and granted Assistant Public Defender David Klemer’s request for medical and psychiatric evaluation of the defendant.

Earlier, Judge Sweet first heard PD Klemer’s request to move both of the defendant’s dates for jury trials to the same date. One charge is failure to register as a sex offender.

Then things began to take a turn in court.

PD Klemer expressed his doubt of the mental competence of his client after Thumm’s repeated objection to continued representation by the PD’s office.

Public Defender Klemer requested that two doctors be appointed to evaluate Thumm psychologically, after Thumm’s strong objections and statements that he would like to represent himself.

The only objection from Deputy District Attorney Chelsea Givens was that at least one of the doctors examining Thumm would be from University of California, Davis.

It was then that Defendant Thumm interrupted Judge Sweet, and requested that he be able to speak, saying quite eloquently, “There’s a definite conflict of interest between the attorney and me, and I move a motion to have him removed as counsel.”

Thumm continued, saying, “He (Klemer) has not given me any of my discovery, he has not made a motion for a bail reduction like I asked. He is mad because I did not accept his plea bargain that he worked so hard to get.”

He was then interrupted by Judge Sweet who said, “Stop right there. It is obvious that he is making a request for a Marsden Motion (and) he has an absolute right to that.”

Judge Sweet denied the defendant’s motion to fire the PD, and appointed doctors to evaluate him for competency for trial. A new court date was set for July.

I’m a second year Political Science and Philosophy major at UC Davis from SoCal, hoping to pursue a career in law!


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