No attorney shows for murder defendant

Posted: Tuesday, September 09, 2003

The last attorney to stand beside Denni R. Starr in court said he was "disappointed" she appeared in court Friday without legal representation on second-degree murder charges.

"If I had been in town, I would have come up anyway," Philip Pallenberg told the Empire Monday. He explained he had been told by the statewide Office of Public Advocacy that it would handle the case and he was out as Starr's court-appointed attorney. He said he had informed Juneau Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks in August after Weeks denied a request to reduce Starr's bail.

As it turned out, no defense counsel showed up for Starr's scheduled hearing Friday. Weeks ordered the Office of Public Advocacy to show cause why it shouldn't be held in contempt.

The Office of Public Advocacy handles cases for defendants in criminal cases who qualify for court-appointed attorneys when there are conflicts with the Public Defender's Office.

Starr, 22, is charged with second-degree murder in the July 26 back-stabbing death of Richard W. "Buddy" George Jr. in the Angoon home the two had shared with their two children.

Weeks has scheduled Starr's trial to begin Dec. 1 in Angoon.

In court Friday, Weeks unsuccessfully tried to reach Pallenberg and an attorney from the Office of Public Advocacy. He was told that attorney was in trial in Anchorage.

Weeks scheduled another hearing for Sept. 15 and sent Starr back to the Lemon Creek Correctional Center, where she is being held in lieu of $50,000 bail.

• Tony Carroll can be reached at

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