By JB Clark
ABERDEEN – U.S. District Court Senior Judge Glen H. Davidson, after hearing about four hours of evidence, is working toward an opinion as to whether Dwight Bowling’s failure to file a timely appeal of his 2011 enticement of a minor sentence was his own fault or the fault of his attorney.
Whether or not Dwight Bowling fired his then-attorney Christi McCoy following his federal and state sentencing hearings was the main point of contention in Tuesday’s hearing.
Bowling argued that McCoy was never dismissed as his court-appointed representative and it is because of her failure to appeal his 300-month prison sentence before the Sept. 5, 2011, deadline that he has been unable to file an effective appeal.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office has argued Bowling fired McCoy with the intention of hiring a new attorney for his appeal and therefore the missed deadline falls on his shoulders and he can’t argue ineffective counsel.
McCoy, who was called as a witness, contends she was fired during a long and heated conversation before Bowling was sentenced on state charges weeks after his sentencing in federal court.
McCoy claimed, during a heated exchange before his state sentencing hearing, Bowling threatened her, told her he hated her, he would hire another attorney and he didn’t want her to file another piece of paper on his behalf.
“As far as Aug. 30, 2011, when I walked out of the Monroe County Courthouse, I believed I had no further duty to Mr. Bowling,” McCoy said from the stand.
Bowling, when called as a witness, said the argument was very heated, threats were made toward him as well and that he was so angry he couldn’t accurately recall what was said that day.
He said he always maintained his desire to appeal his sentence.
After the argument, McCoy filed an appeal asking for the court to appoint Bowling a new attorney. The motion was denied almost a month later and after the appeal deadline passed, meaning she was still the attorney of record.
Bowling’s son, Russ Bowling, who has his father’s power of attorney, was also called as a witness Tuesday.
Davidson said he will issue an opinion on the appeal in a matter of days.
Bowling was a football coach at Smithville High School for 29 years before he retired and coached in Sulligent, Alabama.