ANN RULE SAID:
Liysa was coerced into taking the plea bargain against her will due to the fact that her attorney said on the record that she did not have the funds to resubpoena all of the witnesses. Her attorney had failed to secure the expert witness he claimed to have hired (Laurie Bender's affidavit) Several witnesses hear her attorney threaten her with walking off the case unless she took the plea. When that did not work, her attorney then threatened her with the prosecution of her friends and family.
ANN RULE SAID:
ANN RULE SAID:
TRANSCRIPT FROM NORTHON TRIAL
MAKESON: “Judge, the –all this new information with respect to the computer, I think it presents an extremely complex situation both factually and legally because there's a number of related issues here. We had a umber of pretrial motions including the motion to admit expert testimony on the pattern, practice, and history of abuse..but the point is that the defense made a number of decisions based on a ruling of this court..”
BIRMINGHAM: (PG 448) “And your honor, the other point I'd like to make is as I indicated at the pretrial hearing, the defense did not ask for a setover. And we really needed one in order to provide effective assistance of counsel, but we gave up getting potentially exculpatory witnesses because we couldn't AFFORD to set the case over. Ms. Northon has limited resources. And I think we've spent most everything that we have available for the defense. If this case is set over, I don't think Ms. Northon has the funds to re-subpoena people.”
LAURIE BENDER AFFIDAVIT--
(in support of motion to seal Birmingham's materially false affidavit.): (
“Ms. Northon was forced to waive her constitutional right to a jury trial, her right to present a defense to the charge against her as was forced to enter a plea to a lesser included offense as a result of the unlawful conduct of the government and the disclosure of confidential and privileged communication.”
and “Pat Birmingham was faced with an ethical dilemma and a conflict of interest. He chose to force his client into a plea bargain rather than make his situation public.”
“Pat Birmingham was paid a substantial flat fee, and rather than face a set-over he insisted that his client take a plea bargain.
AFFIDAVIT OF AMY PORTILLO JULY 2002
“I was in the DA's office and one of the ladies who works for the Da told us that Liysa's lawyer said he would walk off the case and leave her without representation unless she took the plea bargain.”
AFFIDAVIT OF SHARON FISHER
When we hired Mr. Birmingham we asked him to hire a local co-counsel form Union County. He agreed , then never hired anyone local. He told us he was going to hire a Battered woman expert, Mary Ann Dutton. He never hired him. Birmingham said he would sit down with members of the family to discuss strategy for her defense, outside of a brief meeting before the bail hearing he did not do this. Nearly all of his discussions with us were on the phone and focused on the specific item of money. In March 2001 Birmingham called our home in Texas and asked me to call back from a phone other than ours. He felt that our telephones might be tapped. ...Whenever the subject of how much money was left in Liysa's account came up, the amount would change day to day and almost hour by hour. On July 17th 2001 AFTER court, he asked permission to hire Wayne Mackinson. I asked how much money was left in Liysa's account. He said “$75,000-$80,000.” He said it would cost $25,000 to hire Mackinson, but it was well worth it.” The trial ended (with the forced plea)two days later. Since the defense had actually only lined up ONE expert witness (the ballistic exper,t) what happened to the rest of the money?
Regarding the events just prior to Liysa accepting the plea I was the only family member allowed to see her and I was told I needed to persuade her to accept the plea. I felt horrendous pressure. Mr. Birmingham was pressing Liysa hard. He said in the presence of Liysa, Wayne and myself that “He was not going to lose his license because of Liysa”
Liysa did not want to take the plea. Mr. Birmingham was angry and frustrated with her, which was very intimidating, particularly for someone suffering the effects of an abusive relationship.
In early August, The Northons filed for custody of Liysa's youngest son and we needed the remainder of Liysa's money in order to fight the custody suit. Mr. Birmingham sent us only $14,000.
AFFIDAVIT OF TIMOTHY COTTON
I was told (by UCCF STAFF) that DA Ousley, in the presence of Birmingham, threatened Northon with the arrest, incarceration and public exposure of her father if she did not accept a plea bargain.
I was told that Birmingham informed Northon that unless she accepted the plea offer he would quit.