ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. — Allen Superior Judge Fran Gull, the woman appointed to oversee the trial of Richard Allen in the Delphi double murders case, has released a transcript of a meeting in her chambers last month where the suspect’s defense team felt they were “ambushed” into withdrawing.
In the transcript, it is revealed that Gull, who was assigned out of Allen County as a special judge to the case, had plans to remove defense attorneys Andrew Baldwin and Bradley Rozzi from the case prior to her announcement in a court hearing in October that the lawyers had voluntarily withdrawn from the case.
Both Baldwin and Rozzi had represented Allen, who is charged with two counts of murder in the February 2017 deaths of Abby Williams and Libby German near the Monon High Bridge in Delphi, as co-counsel in the case since Nov. 14, 2022.
The suspect and defense team were scheduled to make an appearance in court on Oct. 19 for the first media-recorded hearing in the highly publicized trial. However, Allen, Rozzi and Baldwin were not present when Judge Gull began proceedings in what she called at the time an “unexpected turn of events.”
Just a few days later, Rozzi filed several court documents asking that Judge Gull be thrown out, claiming she “ambushed” and “coerced” him and Baldwin to drop out in a secret meeting in her chambers prior to the October hearing. The defense team later filed motions in the Indiana Supreme Court, which ruled that Gull must provide a copy of the transcript.
On Monday, Gull released the transcript. Present in the room at the time of the transcript are Gull and her court reporter, Baldwin and Rozzi, and Carroll County Prosecutor Nicholas McLeland.
Among the issues addressed during the meeting was an evidence leak from Baldwin’s office wherein a former employee had gone into his office and taken pictures of sensitive crime scene evidence related to the Delphi murders case.
While discussing this leak, Prosecutor McLeland told the judge and defense team that he had spent many days and nights investigating the leaked evidence rather than working on the case against Allen. McLeland also expressed concerns that the leak wasn’t a one-time issue.
“I’m concerned that the leak is not just a one time leak,” the prosecutor is quoted as saying. “The evidence that we have shows it is an ongoing leak, however, it’s being done, and it’s just what’s next? I mean, I spent the past 17 days investigating this night and day when I should have been focused on preparing for trial.”
In response, Rozzi said that he had viewed clips on Court TV where anchors such as Barbara MacDonald had evidence from the case in her hands while reporting. This, Rozzi argued, demonstrates that evidence will always be leaked in this case no matter what.
“The point here is, I’m gonna say this maybe a little loosely, but forgive me, don’t
care,” Rozzi said. “I don’t care that all this stuff is out there, because it’s been out there for
five or six years. I don’t have time, he doesn’t have time, he doesn’t have time to sit and try to marshal all of this stuff while this case is ongoing, because there’s no end to it.”
Baldwin agreed, arguing that constant trial delays are violating his client’s right to due process and stating that a man in Florida claims a “disgruntled” Carroll County employee has leaked a whole file filled with evidence including photos.
While Judge Gull seemed to agree with the attorneys that the issues being discussed had “nothing to do with Richard Allen,” she did not appear to side with the defense.
After addressing questions from both McLeland and the defense team, Gull stated that she had “concerns regarding [Baldwin and Rozzi] and the totality of the circumstances surrounding [their] representation of Mr. Allen.”
Gull’s reasoning for her dissatisfaction stemmed not only from the evidence leak from Baldwin’s office but from press releases that “potentially” violated Rules of Professional Responsibility. The judge also called Baldwin “grossly negligent” for sending a sensitive email to the wrong Brad.
Gull further questioned whether Baldwin and Rozzi were fully cooperating with a gag order she had filed and said there was evidence the two had “left materials all over a conference-room table, accessible to anyone.”
“It pains me to say this, but the totality of these circumstances demonstrate gross negligence and incompetence on the part of the defense team,” Gull said. “I am unsatisfied with your representation of Mr. Allen. I am gravely concerned about his rights to have competent, non-negligent representation. He currently doesn’t have that right now.”
Gull went on to tell the attorneys that she was telling them this privately so as not to say it in open court, where a gaggle of media and court officials were waiting. She told Rozzi and Baldwin that they should have a personal conversation with their client about her intention to remove them from the case.
“I’m not good at reading between the lines,” Baldwin is quoted as saying.
“You’re a lawyer,” Gull replied. “That’s what you do for a living.”
Eventually, Gull explained that she was only accusing the defense of negligence and was not condemning the State or McLeland. When Rozzi asked if there was an option where the court would entertain the defense staying on the case, Gull replied “No.”
Rozzi: “So basically, what you’re saying is “You guys either quit on your own accord or you make me fire you”? That’s what-“
Gull: “No. I’m saying to you that this is my this is what plan to say in court on the record when we convene at two o’clock.”
Rozzi: “Well, so are – is the culmination of that that you’re removing us from the case?”
Gull: “I will, based on what I’ve just shared with you.“
Rozzi: “Okay. Well, just want to make sure we’re -“
Gull: “And I’m just giving you the opportunity to have a conversation which – how do you want that to go? I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to do this, but will if have to.”
The meeting transcript then ends for a moment before it picks up again with Rozzi telling Gull that they’ve spoken to their client. Rozzi then claimed that Allen wanted the defense team to stay on and continue representing him. Rozzi also said Allen wanted to tell her this on the record.
Rozzi then told Gull that he felt “frustrated,” which he described as a tame word for the situation, that he was essentially “ambushed” into a “forced resignation” and not given any real opportunity to prepare for the meeting in the chambers.
“The options I’ve been given without any notice the Court really are either I withdraw or I’m gonna be publicly shamed,” Rozzi said, “And that’s the way I see this. And I think that public shaming is not only – there’s not only a professional element to that, I think there’s a personal element too.”
Still, Judge Gull remained by her word that she was prepared to announce the attorney’s withdrawals that day in court.
“I’m gonna withdraw my appearance, but I’m doing it because I don’t think I have any other choice professionally,” Rozzi said. “Not because I want to, and not because my client wants me to.”
After Baldwin essentially agreed and echoed the sentiments of Rozzi, the two attorneys requested that Judge Gull wait until they left the courthouse to begin proceedings.
Gull would then go on to announce that the attorneys would be withdrawing from the case not long afterward to the public and media waiting in the courtroom. Despite both attorneys telling Gull they would be withdrawing, even if they were not happy about it, neither filed a withdrawal with the court that day or in the days that followed.
Rozzi and Baldwin continue to fight to remain on the Delphi murders case and have petitioned the Indiana Supreme Court to reinstate them as Allen’s counsel. Their petition also asked the Supreme Court to remove Gull and for Allen’s trial to occur within 70 days.
To read the entirety of the transcript, click here.