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Spaziano may lack lawyer for hearing

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Spaziano may lack lawyer for hearing


Spaziano's lawyer, Michael Mellow, is worried that he will not be prepared to make a convincing argument on behalf of his client because new evidence has come to light.


Silva, Mark


Silva, Mark. 1995. “Spaziano May Lack Lawyer for Hearing.” Florida The Herald, September 12, 1995.


HIST 298, University of Mary Washington


1995 - 09 - 12


The materials in this online collection are held by Special Collections, Simpson Library, University of Mary Washington and are available for educational use. For this purpose only, you may reproduce materials without prior permission on the condition that you provide attribution of the source.


300 DPI




Tallahassee, Florida

Text Item Type Metadata


Spaziano may lack lawyer for hearing
Capital Bureau Chief

[start of the first column]
Tallahassee – With the prospect of no law-yer appearing for Joseph “Crazy Joe” Spaziano at a last-chance hearing before his slated execution next week, an odd alliance of lawyers is pleading for a delay.

Spaziano’s own lawyer, Michael Mellow, argues that he “cannot possibly render effective assistance” in the short time leading up to Friday’s hearing. The state’s public defenders for Death Row say they too are ill-prepared and that, in any event, they can’t step in so long as Spaziano has a lawyer.

Although Mellow doesn’t want the state’s lawyers involved, the state’s Capital Collateral Representa-tive joined Mellow on Monday in asking the Florida Supreme Court to delay Spaziano’s execution.

A hearing without adequate defense “could result in the most dire consequences, the execution of an innocent man who has only just discovered the evidence which will prove his innocence,” the CCR argued on Monday.

A the same time, the possibility of no lawyer for Spaziano at Friday’s hearing “creates a huge problem,” says Martin McClain, the CCR’s chief assis-tant, “one that the Supreme Court has to address.”
[end of the first column]

[start of second column]
The Supreme Court has ordered a hearing in the Seminole County court where Spaziano was con-victed in 1976 for the murder of Laura Lynn Har-berts. But, by 4-3, the court has refused to postpone the execution scheduled for Sept. 21.

The hearing is solely to weigh a new develop-ment: Tony DiLisio, the key witness who tied Spa-ziano to the bodies of Harberts and another woman found at a wooded dump near Orlando, says Spaziano never showed him the bodies. It was the police, DiLisio now says, who led him there and coerced his testimony.

Recantation alone isn’t enough to grant Spa-ziano a new trial. Prosecutors are likely to present evidence that DiLisio was telling the truth origi-nally, and lying today – the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s position. But if the judge finds DiLisio’s story plausible, he could order a new trial.

Retired Seminole Circuit Judge Robert McGre-gor, who presided over the original trial, is returning to handle Friday’s hearing in Sanford.
[end of the article]

Original Format


Contributor of the Digital Item

McCrumb, Allison

Student Editor of the Digital Item

Williams, Megan




Silva, Mark, “Spaziano may lack lawyer for hearing,” HIST298, accessed January 16, 2021, http://hist298.umwhistory.org/items/show/222.