Attorney Daniel Horowitz removed from Susan Polk
January 20, 2006
MARTINEZ (BCN) -- A judge today removed high-profile defense
lawyer Daniel Horowitz from the murder case of Susan Polk after
he said he had a conflict of interest.
The ruling by Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Laurel
Brady means that Polk, a 47-year-old Orinda woman, will defend
herself when her trial begins on Jan. 31. She is accused of killing
her husband, 70-year-old psychotherapist Felix Polk, in October
Susan Polk, who has fired three other attorneys who have represented
her, said recently that she wanted Horowitz and co-counsel Ivan
Golde off her case.
Horowitz beat her to the punch today by telling the judge that
he would have "a direct conflict'' in continuing to defend
Polk, based on what he described as "public statements by
her out of the courtroom.''
Horowitz apparently was referring to Polk's statements to reporters
that she believes Horowitz might have been involved in the October
murder of his wife, 52-year-old Pamela Vitale. Vitale was found
bludgeoned to death in the couple's Lafayette home.
Horowitz said that in order to respond to Polk's allegations,
he would have to "divulge attorney-client privileged matters.''
Brady then removed Horowitz and Golde from the case, citing both
the actual conflict of interest as well as a potential conflict
of interest: the fact that the same investigators and pathologists
who worked on Vitale's homicide also worked on the homicide of
Susan Polk is scheduled to be back in court Tuesday morning for
After today's hearing, Polk's mother, 72-year-old Helen Bolling
said, "I'm not happy at all'' about Horowitz being removed
from the case.
Bolling said of her daughter, "I think she's making a terrible
She said of Horowitz, "I think he's the most compassionate
and empathetic human being I've ever met.''
Bolling also said "the charges of Dan being involved (in
his wife's murder) are absolutely absurd.''
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