Attorney ditches alleged rapist mid-trial

Updated June 13, 2012 at 3:56 PM

NEW ORLEANS, June 13 (UPI) -- A New Orleans lawyer was held in contempt after he told a judge midway through a rape trial he could not adequately represent his client.

Attorney Claiborne Brown represented Joshua Cumberland, 25, who was accused of raping two young girls. Two days into the trial, Brown filed a motion with St. Tammany Parish Judge William Burris saying he was inadequate counsel, The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported.

Burris ordered Brown jailed until he was willing to "perform his duties." He said Brown had so far performed competently.

Cumberland hired an attorney from out-of-state, who hired Brown as his in-state co-counsel. The out-of-state attorney has not attended any of the proceedings.

Brown has been practicing law in Louisiana since 1998. He was to be sanctioned Friday.

Burris set July 30 for Cumberland's retrial.

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