Citing conflict, public defenders want off murder trial

NEWTON, Iowa (AP) — Public defenders are seeking to stop representing a man charged with murder after revelations that their boss moonlights for a police department involved in the case.

Lawyers with the special defense unit of the State Public Defender's office said in a filing Wednesday that they now believe their representation of Jeffrey Stendrup is a conflict of interest. They have asked a judge for permission to withdraw.

Their supervisor, special defense unit director Mike Adams, works on the side as a reserve police officer with the Colfax Police Department.
Its officers are prosecution witnesses against Stendrup, who is charged in the 2018 beating death of a man at a Colfax home.

The public defenders had disclosed the potential conflict at a hearing last month but indicated they planned to continue representing Stendrup. They said in Wednesday's filing that they have learned additional information since then that changes their analysis.

If approved, their withdrawal would likely delay Stendrup's Oct. 23 trial date.