Convicted Aurora murderer claims attorneys failed him
By Dan Campana For The Beacon-News February 20, 2013 3:24PM
Jaime Diaz, 33, formerly of Aurora, was convicted in January 2013 in the 1998 murders of Brendon Anderson of Geneva and Elias Calcano of Aurora.
Updated: March 22, 2013 10:08AM
ST. CHARLES — Two days into his trial on charges he murdered two men in 1998, Jaime Diaz wrote to complain about the performance of his two court-appointed lawyers.
“My attorneys have repeatedly failed to test the state’s case in these past two days,” Diaz said in the six-page letter to Judge Karen Simpson. “I understand that the issue of trial strategy is left up to my attorneys but your honor, allowing the state to have their (illegible writing) is not a strategy.”
A jury needed only about three hours on Jan. 31 to convict Diaz of shooting to death Elias Calcano and Brendon Anderson in an Aurora alley in March 1998. The 35-year-old Aurora man faces a mandatory life sentence for the convictions.
Diaz appeared in court Wednesday for a hearing on his claims of ineffective counsel by Assistant Kane County Public Defenders Greg Brown and Judith Kullenberg. He asked Simpson for more time — and more materials — to prepare his complaints.
“I was hoping to go over the discovery ... to be more specific about what I’m trying to prove,” Diaz said. “I can’t cite from the top of my head.”
In his initial letter, Diaz generally suggested problems with how his attorneys dealt with photos presented at trial by the prosecution, as well as with the testimony of investigators. Diaz acknowledged part of his need for more time was in order to make sure he included all issues he intends to raise on appeal.
As Simpson considered the request for a continuance, Diaz said he also wanted a 7-minute video, various photos and a map available for use at an upcoming hearing. Simpson gave Diaz until April 3 to finalize his ineffective counsel motion, and then set an April 19 hearing where she will determine whether enough information exists to proceed to a full hearing on whether the attorneys properly represented Diaz.
In addition to his in-court complaints, a Jan. 28 letter from the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission — the agency which handles complaints against lawyers — indicates Diaz had written officials there in hopes of having Kullenberg investigated, court records show. The letter directs Diaz to raise the issue in court first, and to contact ARDC in the future if Kullenberg were ruled to have been ineffective while representing him.