Attempted Homicide Defendant Dismisses Attorney on Day of Trial

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Attempted murder defendant Ricardo Clarke appeared before Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Melissa K. Copeland on April 15 to request postponement and to dismiss his attorney James Sweeting III

Clarke is charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder, first-degree assault, second-degree assault, reckless endangerment, firearm use in a felony violent crime, having a loaded handgun on his person and carrying a handgun on his person in connection to an incident that occurred on Feb. 21, 2023, on the 1000 block of Herndon Court.

Clarke, 43, was scheduled to begin trial on April 15 before Judge Troy K. Hill. Upon arriving in court however, he told Judge Hill he didn’t feel confident to begin as he wasn’t able to discuss his case sufficiently with Sweeting. 

According to Sweeting, there were several communication issues between him and his client and the prosecution. The assistant state’s attorney offered Clarke a plea deal back in November 2023, which he rejected. 

Sweeting told Judge Hill that he was unaware a new offer was on the table until this morning, and he hadn’t had the time to fully discuss it with his client. 

Judge Hill sent the defendant and counsel to reception court in order to postpone the trial. Clarke requested dismissing Sweeting on the merits, to which Judge Copeland agreed but informed him he would have to find a new attorney before he appeared in court again.

Clarke is scheduled to appear back before Judge Copeland on June 17 to attempt to reschedule his trial. 

Clarke is accused of shooting his girlfriend in the arm following an argument. 

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