A hearing to determine whether Challenger Foundation President Stephen Cartisano was eligible for a court-appointed lawyer was canceled after Cartisano hired his own attorney.
Indiana attorney John D. Breclaw will represent the founder and director of the controversial wilderness treatment program on charges of negligent homicide and child abuse.In documents filed with 6th Circuit Judge David L. Mower, Breclaw asked for a several-month continuance for him to prepare Cartisano's defense.
Breclaw, who is not licensed to practice in Utah, will be assisted by attorney Elizabeth Joseph of Big Water, Kane County.
Written motions submitted by Breclaw also demand a jury trial.
Kane County officials have charged Cartisano, 35, with misdemeanor counts of negligent homicide and child abuse.
Challenger was founded in 1988 and charged $16,000 for a 63-day wilderness experience program aimed at taming rebellious teenagers.
The criminal charges allege Cartisano and Challenger were negligent in the hiking death June 27 of Kristen Chase, 16, because there were no written guidelines and staff had not been notified of health problems suffered by the girl.
Chase collapsed and died June 27 while hiking with other Challenger students atop the rugged Kaiparowits Plateau in the southern Utah desert. An autopsy revealed the cause of death as exertional heat stroke.
Cartisano and Challenger also are charged with eight counts of child abuse stemming from allegations that patients were subjected to exposure to the elements and dragged or forced to hike while ill.
Trial had been set for Nov. 14 and 15. Mower scheduled a hearing on the motion for a continuance for Oct. 25 at 9 a.m.
Breclaw will handle the criminal case against Cartisano.
Challenger, separate from its president, will be represented by Salt Lake attorneys Ronald C. Barker, Mitchell R. Barker and David Cundick.