Third District Judge Deno Himonas said Friday he will issue a ruling soon as to whether a man charged with killing a corrections officer can continue to be represented by the Salt Lake County Legal Defenders Association.

LDA attorneys had petitioned the court to disqualify the entire agency from the case because many of its attorneys knew the victim, Stephen Anderson, and some were close friends. Those close personal ties, plus communication within the LDA office, could pose a potential conflict of interest, according to LDA attorneys.

However, Patrick Anderson, LDA's associate director, said Friday that one of the agency's attorneys, David Mack, is qualified to handle death penalty cases and is willing to become lead counsel on the case of Curtis Michael Allgier.

Allgier, 28, is charged with aggravated murder for allegedly shooting Stephen Anderson with Anderson's own gun while the officer was guarding Allgier at a local hospital on June 25, 2007. Allgier had been transported there from prison for medical tests. Salt Lake County District Attorney Lohra Miller has stated publicly that if Allgier is convicted, her office will seek the death penalty.

Two private attorneys, Mark Moffat and Ken Brown, have been representing Allgier so he would not be left without a lawyer while this issue is resolved. They have been negotiating with Salt Lake County over potential fees.

Allgier's next court appearance is a status conference set for June 20.

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