Convicted robber wants new lawyer

Less than a week after Steven Simmons was convicted of armed robbery, he told District Judge Michael Gibbons he wanted to fire his court-appointed lawyer.

In a letter to Gibbons, Simmons, 27, of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., accused lawyer Tod Young of a "dirty trick" by suggesting the Nov. 22, 2005, robbery of the Minden branch of Bank of America was committed by a friend of the former snowboard park employee.

"During his closing segment he (Young) implicated Sean Johnson without warning me and the DA blamed me for it. I am appalled by his dirty trick and no longer wish to deal with him. I feel he never had an interest in helping me," Simmons wrote in the letter.

Young raised the possibility that the robbery was committed by Johnson who left Simmons behind to answer for the crime. Johnson was not charged.

Prosecutor Michael McCormick rebutted the Johnson theory saying, "It's very convenient to try to place the blame on somebody who's not seated here today."

Young said Wednesday it would be inappropriate to comment on Simmons' allegations.

"I guess we will just go to court and he can ask for a new lawyer," Young said Wednesday.

Gibbons set a hearing for Monday on the request.

A jury of nine men and three women deliberated for three hours before convicting Simmons on Jan. 25.

While the prosecution called two dozen witnesses during the three-day trial, the defense had no witnesses, nor did Simmons testify.

Simmons also rejected a jury instruction which would have offered the option to have him found guilty of a lesser offense.

He sat silently through the trial and showed no emotion when the verdict was read.

Simmons was convicted of robbery with the use of a deadly weapon, and possession of a firearm with the serial number changed, altered or obliterated.

Jurors watched a video of the robbery that showed a masked individual wearing dark clothes jumping over a counter at the bank holding a plastic trash bag and a handgun.

Nearly $5,000 was taken at gunpoint, but the money was recovered.

There were no injuries, but witnesses testified how the suspect held a loaded 9 mm Glock handgun to the head of a teller.

None of the bank employees identified Simmons as the suspect. He was caught about 30 minutes later hiding in a doghouse less than a mile from the bank.

The money, gun, clothing, goggles and other items were found in a backpack located in a field between the bank and the Mackland neighborhood where Simmons was caught.

A Washoe County Crime Lab expert linked Simmons' DNA to the items.

Deputies testified that Simmons said he hitchhiked to Gardnerville from Mammoth Lakes and was dropped off at the skateboard park near Lampe Park.

He told authorities he walked through town and bought $40 worth of marijuana from a man at the Carson Valley Inn parking lot.

Investigators said Simmons told them he was crossing through the field which was the site of the search for the bank robber and ran because he was afraid he would get caught with the marijuana.

Young was the second court-appointed lawyer for Simmons. Lawyer Terri Roeser handled the case until her retirement last year and Young took over.

At the conclusion of the trial, Gibbons complimented Young and prosecutor Michael McCormick for their handling of the case.


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