Despite expressing concern that sexual assault charges against Warren McClinton have lingered for six years without a conviction, as he sat behind bars for most of that time, a judge on Tuesday refused to reduce bail in the case.
After a sometimes heated 45-minute-long hearing in which McClinton said he had a "conflict of interest" with his lawyers, who said they have struggled to get along with him, District Judge Eric Johnson said he was determined to go forward with McClinton‘s retrial early next month.
The judge declined to remove McClinton‘s attorneys, Ozzie Fumo and Dustin Marcello, from the case.
McClinton has had nine attorneys who represented him on the sexual assault charge, and that‘s part of the reason for the delay in bringing the case to a jury.
"Who do you think is going to come on that‘s going to suddenly be able to do everything you think that they should do?" Johnson said. "I personally don‘t see anyone who is going to be able to work with Mr. McClinton. The history doesn‘t show it."
Late last month, a jury acquitted McClinton, 48, on one count of sexual assault and said they were deadlocked on seven other charges. Without having been convicted of a crime, he has spent a majority of his jail time in isolation, his mother Zerlene Murrell said after Tuesday‘s hearing.
"It‘s frustrating," she said.
Prosecutors have said they want to retry the case, and McClinton‘s attorneys asked for him to be released on his own recognizance while he awaits the second trial.
McClinton is being held on $130,000 bail. He now faces three counts of sexual assault with a minor younger than 16, three counts of open or gross lewdness and one count of battery with intent to commit sexual assault in connection with allegations from Aug. 2008. In 2009 a judge threw out an indictment against him because prosecutors failed to introduce certain evidence to a grand jury in a sexual assault case.
What they didn‘t reveal: DNA from two other males was found on the victim‘s bed sheets in her North Las Vegas home, where the crime was alleged to have occurred.
The 14-year-old girl was the only person who initially testified before the grand jury. When prosecutors went to the same grand jury a second time, they called the victim, her mother and a detective to testify. McClinton also took the stand.
The panel, which also heard the DNA evidence, deliberated for 30 minutes and refused to indict him.
He was briefly released from jail, but prosecutors quickly presented new charges to a judge who ruled there was enough evidence for a trial.
Prosecutors argue that McClinton, who uses multiple aliases, four Social Security numbers and three dates of birth, is a flight risk. He‘s been charged in Nevada, Illinois and Virginia with various crimes, such as domestic battery, driving under the influence of alcohol and unlawful possession of a firearm. He‘s also failed to appear in court 39 times, prosecutors said.
Fumo said most of McClinton‘s missed court dates resulted from a court system glitch. He had been cited on a misdemeanor charge of allowing a dangerous animal to run at large and ordered to pay a fine. McClinton had actually paid the citation at the initial court date.
In another case, McClinton was given just two hours notice to appear before an arrest warrant was issued. On another occasion he was in custody on a separate robbery charge - later dropped - but wasn‘t transferred to court. A judge still issued an arrest warrant. McClinton has said he was in jail when the alleged robbery occurred.
In multiple attempts to get judges to reduce his bail, McClinton‘s various lawyers have pointed to the grand jury that refused to indict him.
Over the years, McClinton has repeatedly butted heads with his attorneys, both retained and appointed, and his frequent outbursts in court may have convinced judges to keep him behind bars.
"I‘ve been trying everything I can, and now I‘ve just lost it," Fumo told the judge on Tuesday. "I‘ve made countless arguments for this guy… It‘s impossible to sit there and argue with him and listen for the objections and do everything we‘ve got to do."
As McClinton was escorted out of the courtroom, he suggested that he would refuse to show up for his trial.
"That‘s not my attorney," he said. "I won‘t be back."