Yohn files another motion to represent himself; hearing set for Sept. 7

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Bradley Yohn, seated, talks with public defender Todd Nelson, left, during an Aug. 3 hearing in Adams County Circuit Court. | File photo by David Adam

QUINCY — A Springfield man, charged with four Class X felonies in connection with a Nov. 9, 2021 sexual assault, is asking to represent himself — again.

Bradley S. Yohn, 35, filed a motion Wednesday, Aug. 24, to represent himself in his case. A status hearing was held Wednesday in Adams County Circuit Court, and Judge Roger Thomson set a hearing for Yohn’s motion for Sept. 7.

A trial is scheduled to begin Nov. 7.

Yohn filed a motion on July 18 for withdrawal of public defender Todd Nelson as his counsel. However, Thomson ruled two days later there was no evidence of ineffective counsel and denied the motion. 

Yohn is charged with home invasion, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated vehicular hijacking and aggravated criminal sexual assault with a weapon — all Class X felonies. He allegedly committed the crimes at the home of Christine “Tina” Schmitt, who died on Dec. 12, 2021.

John Citro, another public defender, was assigned to Yohn’s case on Nov. 18, 2021, when he replaced Nelson. However, Yohn complained for several months about Citro and wanted to defend himself. He asked Judge Amy Lannerd to dismiss Citro as counsel on April 19, and he asked Judge Michael Atterberry to hire him a lawyer on April 29.

Thomson finally granted Yohn his wish, allowing Citro to be excused from the case on May 11.

Yohn began defending himself pro se, and his trial was scheduled to begin June 21. However, the trial ended before it started. Moments before jury selection was set to begin, Yohn told Thomson, “I can’t do this.” 

Nelson was reassigned to the case on July 20.

In his most recent motion, Yohn wrote Nelson’s caseload is “abundant in numbers and takes up too much time for a case this complex.” He said Nelson has not talked with him to form a defense.

“As this is a human life on the line, one shall not be represented by counsel of this nature,” he wrote.

Yohn wrote Nelson has not been effective, nor has he “upheld the standards set for one who goes to law school and passes the bar.” He said Nelson and the public defenders system in Adams County have abused their position of law and “do not have what it takes to proceed in a case of this nature.”

Yohn wrote he wants to represent himself pro se again.

“(It) is in high hopes that the courts do not again try to give the defendant unethical choices once pro se and/or violate his rights, as previously happened in the Eighth Judicial Circuit of Illinois,” he said.

Yohn said his rights under the U.S. Constitution and Illinois Constitution have been violated, and he believes he can be more effective as a pro se litigant.

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