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Attorney in FPD excessive force case to be court-appointed

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

After a five-week trial and a price tag of nearly $500,000 to defend four Fresno police officers, a judge has ruled the court will provide some relief.

Marshall Hodgkins will be court-appointed the second time around, as he represents former Fresno Police K-9 officer Sean Plymale. The appointment will mean a big pay cut, but Hodgkins says he can't back out now.

"I'm sure there's some things we'll do different, I'm sure there's some things the government will do differently but the evidence is exactly the same. I think what you will see is some tactics changed."

Harry Stern is the only attorney who has not applied to be court appointed. He declined to say whether his client, Paul Van Dalen will be paying him to be represented again. But Stern says in this case, payment isn't a priority.

"I'm not worried about that, you know, I'll do this thing for free if need be. I believe in the cause and when I start something I'm going to see it through to the finish and the successful finish is what this is going to be."

Sergeant Mike Manfredi and Sean Plymale are the only two defendants still in law enforcement. Manfredi works at Fresno Police and Plymale is a police officer in Madera. The cost of fighting for their freedom has drained all four, according to their attorneys. They are facing decades in prison if they are convicted of using excessive force and falsifying police reports.

The first trial ended in a hung jury nine to three, for not guilty.

The prospect of another lengthy trial is daunting for everyone involved.

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fresno, fresno county, madera, local, sontaya rose
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