Attorney withdraws in felony animal cruelty case

During a hearing Wednesday in the Manistee County 85th District Court, attorney Shawn Worden announced that he would withdraw as counsel for his client, Copemish woman Brittannie Wiggins-Pickard, who was arrested last year on a felony animal cruelty charge. A preliminary examination date for Wiggins-Pickard has been rescheduled for April 26. (Sean Bradley/News Advocate)

During a hearing Wednesday in the Manistee County 85th District Court, attorney Shawn Worden announced that he would withdraw as counsel for his client, Copemish woman Brittannie Wiggins-Pickard, who was arrested last year on a felony animal cruelty charge. A preliminary examination date for Wiggins-Pickard has been rescheduled for April 26. (Sean Bradley/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — A Copemish woman accused of animal cruelty was granted a new attorney during a hearing Wednesday.

Brittannie Wiggins-Pickard, 24, was scheduled for a plea and sentencing in Manistee County’s 85th District Court regarding a felony animal cruelty charge.

However, her attorney Shawn Worden said he was not prepared for the examination and proceeded to recommend his withdrawal as her attorney, which was granted by judge Thomas Brunner.

WIGGINS-PICKARD

WIGGINS-PICKARD

“I just think there is a communication issue that is sufficient to have lead to the breakdown of the attorney-client relationship,” Worden said. “I’ve discussed that with my client and she would agree with that notion and she would consent to withdrawal.”

Wiggins-Pickard was arrested in October with her husband Darrin Pickard Jr., 25, and charged with one felony count each of abandoning/cruelty to 10 or more animals, a felony punishable by up to four years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine if convicted.

In lieu of Worden’s withdrawal, Wiggins-Pickard asked the court to procure an attorney for her for future hearings. A preliminary examination is now set to take place on April 26 in the district court.

Pickard Jr. is still set for a restitution hearing in the district court regarding paying up to $19,244 to the animal control division of Manistee County.

The restitution hearing was ordered by the court during his sentencing on Feb. 19 to take place within 90 days from that date. This issue will be revisited after counsel and the local authorities can come to an agreeable amount to repay.

“I believe there will be (a hearing). I don’t know when that will occur. Shortly, would be my guess,” said Jonathan Hauswirth, Manistee County assistant prosecuting attorney, after the hearing Wednesday.

Pickard Jr., sentenced by Brunner in February to serve 60 days in the Manistee County Jail, was in attendance at his wife’s hearing.

According to jail staff, he was released April 5 due to good behavior.

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Posted by Sean Bradley

Sean is the city and cops and courts reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the entertainment and Reasons to Celebrate pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3109 or sbradley@pioneergroup.com.

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