Trial postponed for Bingham sheriff after attorney withdraws from case
BLACKFOOT — A trial set to begin next week for the Bingham County Sheriff has been vacated after the defense attorney’s request for withdrawal from the case was approved.
Jury proceedings for Sheriff Craig Rowland were supposed to start Monday, July 25, but the trial has now been vacated. At a hearing Friday, defense attorney Justin Olesen’s motion for withdrawal was approved by District Judge Stephen Dunn.
In the motion, Oleson cites a “breakdown in communication between counsel and defendant” and thus says he is unable to prepare for the trial properly.
“The defendant has claimed that counsel has been ineffective,” the motion concludes.
Rowland must now retain a new attorney by July 22.
The sheriff faces felonies for aggravated battery and aggravated assault, along with a misdemeanor charge for the exhibition of a weapon. Those charges stem from an incident at his home last November when he allegedly pointed a gun at a vehicle carrying a church youth group and their adult female leader after they left a “thankful turkey” on his door.
Rowland is accused of pulling the woman by the hair and holding a gun to her head. She told investigators he said he could shoot her and she needed to “get the f*** out of here.”
Multiple officials have called for the sheriff to resign but he has remained on the job since the incident and refuses to step down.
A status conference has been scheduled for July 26 at which time Dunn will determine the coming steps and schedule for the case.