YOUNGSTOWN No-shows confuse clients, court

Court officials are waiting to find out whether the lawyer is coming back.
YOUNGSTOWN -- A longtime local attorney has missed a string of court appearances lately and left at least one client and a judge wondering what's going on.
"There has been some confusion as to his whereabouts," Assistant Prosecutor Deena Calabrese said during a hearing Monday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
Atty. E. Winther McCroom was supposed to attend the hearing and explain his absences to Judge R. Scott Krichbaum, but did not show.
"I just need to know what's up with him," Judge Krichbaum said.
The judge said he and his staff tried all last week to reach McCroom, to no avail. Telephone service to McCroom's home and downtown law office has been disconnected.
Another local attorney finally was able to reach him, Judge Krichbaum said.
Called from Las Vegas: On Friday afternoon, McCroom called the court from Las Vegas, where he's apparently rented an apartment, and said he hadn't been notified of the hearings he'd missed, including Monday's, Judge Krichbaum said.
"I told him that I thought his conduct was questionable at best," Judge Krichbaum said. He and Calabrese were unclear whether McCroom has permanently relocated to Las Vegas or intends to come back and resume his practice.
"It was my impression that he wanted to remain on this case," Calabrese said.
She was referring to the case of Andre Bundy, an 18-year-old West Hylda Avenue man charged with two counts of aggravated robbery and one count of conspiracy to aggravated robbery. The charges stem from the August 2001 rape of a 21-year-old Boardman woman near Market Street.
Bundy and his mother, Cynthia Callier of Youngstown, were in court Monday and were as confused as everyone else about McCroom's status.
No contact: Callier said they hadn't heard from McCroom in weeks and she was not aware he'd apparently moved out of town.
Bundy said he still wants McCroom to be his lawyer, if McCroom still wants the job. McCroom was to call the court Monday afternoon and give an answer.
Judge Krichbaum said McCroom told him that he'd left forwarding information with "all the appropriate people," though no one seemed to know where he was.
A spokeswoman at the county bar association office said McCroom did not notify them he was going to Las Vegas. Other clients have called the office looking for information about him, she said.

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