Public defender protests order to represent man accused of robbing drug dealer

Bond for armed robbery suspect set at $50,000.
Cary Ashby
Feb 6, 2013


The public defender protested representing a man accused of robbing a suspected drug dealer.

Randy Soto, 21, of 23B Newton St., was arraigned Monday on one count of aggravated robbery. The first-degree felony, which is punishable by three to 11 years in prison, is in connection with a Nov. 18 incident at a Newton Terrace apartment.

"He is accused of robbing a drug dealer," Huron County Public Defender David Longo said in court.

Soto's charge comes with a firearm specification. That means the man is accused of using or brandishing a gun to commit the suspected offense and if convicted, will have three years added to his sentence.

Longo told Huron County Common Pleas Judge Jim Conway he "officially declines" to represent Soto because his speedy trial date is in three weeks. The attorney cited a heavy caseload of other felonies, which were scheduled earlier, and said preparing for Soto's case wouldn't give him enough time.

"We are under the same time restraint," Huron County Assistant Prosecutor Richard Woodruff said.

Conway said since Huron County offers public defenders to defendants and Longo has three other attorneys to assist with the workload, there's no reason for his office not to represent Soto. The judge also reminded Longo he could file a motion to have Soto's trial date continued.

Court officials also addressed the defendant's criminal history before the judge set a $50,000 bond.

Conway asked specifically about a 2010 conviction for a second-degree felony. While prosecutors didn't answer directly, Soto told the judge the only time he "got in trouble" was when he served nine months behind bars for grand theft.

"His sister came to the office. She is being evicted because of his activities," Prosecutor Russell Leffler told the judge without elaborating.

Nobody was injured during the suspected robbery investigated by Norwalk Police Detective Sgt. Seth Fry.

One of the victims identified Soto during a photo line-up. Police have said the suspect originally came to the apartment for a drug-related purpose, but he "ended up robbing people" of less than $300.

"I didn't do this," Soto said in court Monday, prompting Conway to remind not to discuss the circumstances of the case.

Soto was arrested in early December. He is prohibited from having any contact with the three victims -- one of whom he reportedly knows -- if he posts a $50,000 bond. His trial is set for Feb. 26.


swiss family

now that is an interesting twist... the Public Defenders office has no problem defending and even making wimpy plea deals for the drug dealer... so it looks like they are working hard to reduce the charges for the drug dealers, and now we have a criminal that robbed the drug dealer, and the Public Defenders office says they do not want to defend the robber of the drug dealer?????????????So then could we say, with some certainty, that the Public Defenders office is going all out to NOT defend anyone who hurts the drug dealer?????I understand it is their job to defend criminals... would they have a problem if this criminal stole from a "non drug dealer"???? something just doesn't seem right here.. I was always told to "follow the money" and I think if I do it in this instance, it cries "FOUL" by some pretty important people in my opinion


This is kinda nice. Rob drug dealers? Moon-ga!! As long as only bad people get hurt. Warhe.


I bet Georgie Ford would have represented him...and thrown him under the bus






I believe the work load is probably excessively high for our county "cheap wage" public defenders. NO ONE HAS A JOB . No cash? No way to pay for there own attorney. So the taxpayer.. once again gets to be on the hook for any and all drug abuser's and thieves. Not only pay for them to sit on butt and not work, but when the get bored and commit a crime.. PUBLIC defender expected to be paid for by taxpayer?? Very simple. Look at the paper.. everyday multiple petty to serious crimes. We live in a poop hole, and i do not see anyway out. and actually feel sorry for our PUBLIC employees from the cops to defenders will all the bogus crap they have to put up with. and continus funding cuts..
and the public who still does work are cut to bare survival, with sooooo many taxes and reg's.. What's a person to do but throw there hands up..


911 whats your emergency? Ummm, yeahhh, I uhhh just had this guy rob my weed.