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Skinhead Stripped in Utah of Right to Counsel

SALT LAKE CITY (CN) - A white supremacist who murdered a prison guard no longer has a right to the counsel he bullied as "quacks" and "ass clowns," the Utah Supreme Court ruled.

Curtis Allgier was one week into a 104-month sentence on a weapons charge when he killed corrections officer Stephen Anderson on June 25, 2007.

Anderson, 60, had been escorting heavily tattooed Allgier to the University of Utah for a medical visit, when the 27-year-old inmate shot the guard while wrestling for his gun.

Allgier, who has the words "skin head" inked above his eyebrows on either side of a swastika, then stole a Ford Explorer and led police on a high-speed chase. He was apprehended at a nearby Arby's restaurant, where he also tried to shoot an unarmed employee.

With Allgier facing new charges of aggravated murder, disarming a police officer, aggravated escape and aggravated robbery, the Salt Lake Legal Defender Association moved multiple times over the next 3 1/2 years for permission to withdraw as counsel.

A judge eventually granted the request, and Allgier moved to represent himself prior to trial, apparently dissatisfied with his latest appointed counsel. He received a life sentence without parole in December 2012 per a plea agreement.

The courts roped LDA back in for Allgier's ensuing appeal, but the nonprofit claimed a conflict of interest and referred the case to an unaffiliated attorney.

Less than a month later, however, Allgier again demanded new counsel.

That appointed attorney also filed a motion to withdraw based on an "irreparable breakdown in the attorney-client relationship."

With the state opposing per further information, the attorney cited Allgier's complaint to the bar, which said "it [would] get very ugly" for him if he did not withdraw.

Allgier added that he was "trying to be nice, but [would] resort to other means of removal if [the attorney thought] he could sell [Mr. Allgier] out. ... He don't want to learn how much I don't give a damn."

The attorney said he also received "rather more intense communications directly from [Mr. Allgier]," and that the bar complaint's "less than veiled threats ... are tempered and mild by comparison."

Days later, Allgier filed a separate pleading: "Defendant/Appellant's response to [his attorney's] cowardly response to state's response."

Allgier said he would accept only female counsel and that his attorney had refused to raise issues that he demanded.

When the court appointed two new attorneys to represent Allgier, the inmate filed yet another motion two weeks later that said he "refuse[d] these quacks forced upon [him]."

Allgier's motion failed, as did three subsequent filings, which "consistently referred to counsel in demeaning and derogatory terms" and "were hostile and threatening in tone," according to the Utah Supreme Court's Jan. 23 opinion in the case.

One motion stated: "they [Mr. Allgier's appointed attorneys] are the dumbest ass clowns I've ever had the EXTREME dishonorable displeasure of being forced to know were even somehow on the planet, let alone incompetently and ineffectively misrepresented by[,] and NEVER ... will they have the honor of being in my Aryan GOD presence or having any kind of contact with me period!!"

Allgier refused to communicate with the attorneys, ordered them removed from his visiting list and refused delivery of their correspondence.

A motion by the attorneys says Allgier also "leveled threats against counsel," said "he knows how to find people outside of prison," and mailed documents to one of his new attorneys' home address, which was never provided to him.

On Friday, the Utah Supreme Court stripped Allgier, who is being held in an Idaho maximum security prison, of his right to counsel.

"We acknowledge that many of the cases involving a forfeiture of counsel may have involved somewhat more extreme conduct (at least more extreme than the conduct of which we are presently aware in this case), but most of those cases involved forfeitures during trial proceedings," the eight-page ruling states (parentheses in ruling).

Allgier "has repeatedly engaged in extreme dilatory, disruptive, and threatening conduct that constitutes a forfeiture of his right to counsel for the limited remainder of the proceedings on appeal," the court added.

Allgier may file a pro se reply brief within 30 days of receiving the ruling.

"Under the unique procedural posture presented by this appeal, where the only remaining step in the proceedings is the filing of a reply brief, Mr. Allgier has forfeited his right to counsel for the remainder of the appellate proceedings," the ruling states.

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