California attorney claims incompetence

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Updated: 7/09 4:52 pm

MODESTO, Calif. (AP) — A defense attorney in Central California is facing possible court sanctions after refusing to continue representing his client in the middle of a murder trial.

The Modesto Bee reports that attorney Steven O'Connor told a Stanislaus County judge on Tuesday he was not competent and wanted off the case. Judge Linda McFadden urged him to reconsider, but O'Connor refused, saying he had failed his client, according to the Bee. He may now be held in contempt of court and face possible state bar action.

O'Connor was representing Nicholas John Harris, of Turlock, who was convicted of second-degree murder and was returning to court for the sanity phase of his trial.

The trial has now been suspended.

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