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Duncan lawyers must question jurors

U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge has ruled that Joseph Duncan’s standby attorneys must act on his behalf to question prospective jurors, if he asks them to do so.

Duncan’s attorneys, who are designated as standby counsel because he’s elected to represent himself, had argued that by taking on that role, they would violate his right to self-representation. Duncan then asked that the judge take on the questioning of jurors himself. Lodge declined, in an order issued Monday, and cited three U.S. Supreme Court decisions to back up his ruling that it’s an appropriate role for standby lawyers.

Jury selection resumes Wednesday in Duncan’s federal death penalty sentencing trial for the kidnap and murder of 9-year-old Dylan Groene in 2005.

Betsy Z. Russell


Ella’s Supper Club prepares to shut down

Spokane’s only nightclub dedicated to live jazz, Ella’s Supper Club at CenterStage, is closed and will stay that way unless the nonprofit performing arts house can raise $125,000 by the end of the month – and $40,000 by the end of the week.

CenterStage’s artistic director, Tim Behrens, announced to a full house Saturday night that it was likely the final evening of live entertainment and dining at Ella’s, located on the third floor of CenterStage, 1017 W. First Ave.

“There’s a slim chance that we may be open in September,” Behrens said to the crowd. “It depends on raising $125,000 by the end of August.”

CenterStage needs $40,000 to stay open through the month, said executive director Don Swanson.

“We have just come to the end of line,” Swanson said, attributing the financial failure to a poor economy, and a drop in donations and retail revenues.

CenterStage will hold events planned for August, but there are no guarantees beyond that.

CenterStage’s Board of Trustees is scheduled to meet today to consider strategies to keep Ella’s open on weekends.

For more information and video, visit blogs/soundwave, and check 7’s cover story on Friday.

Isamu Jordan

Animal-hoarding case investigated

An animal-hoarding investigation involving dozens of cats seized from a Spokane home last week is expected to be sent to the prosecutor’s office today, according to SpokAnimal.

The target of the investigation is a longtime cat advocate. Penny McIntosh works with several cat rescue shelters and obtained most of the 85 cats seized Friday at her home at 2812 W. Sharp Ave. through the rescues, said Gail Mackie, SpokAnimal executive director. All but one of the felines had health problems that seemed to clear up when removed from the home, Mackie said.

Officials sent four seized dogs to foster homes, four of the cats to the original rescue organization and one back to its owner, who Mackie said was having McIntosh care for it. An unknown number of cat carcasses have yet to be removed from the home, where conditions were “deplorable,” Mackie said.

The other 80 cats are being housed at SpokAnimal. Mackie asks anyone wishing to donate things such as cat litter to call (509) 534-8133, ext 207.

Meghann M. Cuniff

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