Derrick Allen requests new attorney
Derrick Allen, who was freed from prison after a judge overturned his 1999 murder conviction but has since been charged with other crimes, has asked for a new attorney.
Allen was brought to a Durham County courtroom last week, and his attorney, Marion Howard, told Superior Court Judge Reuben Young that Allen wanted to hire defense attorney Lisa Williams to defend him on assault with a deadly weapon charges.
Williams previously represented Allen during a hearing in which his murder charge was dismissed.
Young told Allen that since Allen had not yet hired Williams, he would be willing to let him sign an affidavit declaring he was indigent and request the public defender’s office to represent him.
On Thursday, Williams said she was not present when Allen made the request and didn’t know much about it, but she planned to speak to Allen when she had the opportunity.
Since Sept. 6, 2012, Allen has been charged with assault by pointing a gun, assault on a female, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, breaking and entering, communicating threats, discharging a firearm within the city limits, felony possession of cocaine, injury to real property and interfering with emergency communication.
The assault charges stem from when he allegedly shot at a romantic rival.
In 1999, Allen pleaded guilty to sexually molesting and killing a 2-year-old girl, but he took an Alford plea, meaning he did not admit his guilt, and continued to maintain he was innocent. He was sentenced to 43 to 54 years in prison.
In September 2010, Durham Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson dismissed the charges against Allen because of problems at the SBI lab that tested the girl’s clothing for blood and DNA.
He was released from prison but in August 2012, the N.C. Court of Appeals overturned Hudson’s ruling and sent the case back to Durham County for a new trial. Allen is out on pre-trial release on the murder charge, but he is being held in the Durham County Jail under a $100,000 bond on the assault charges.
The murder case is one of the cases that apparently initiated a feud between former District Attorney Tracey Cline and Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson. She claims Hudson asked her to drop the charges against Allen and unfairly blamed her for problems in the case, even though she was not the prosecuting attorney.