Gavel. Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash
LOGAN — Next month’s jury trial for a 36-year-old former Logan man has been cancelled after his defense attorney was suspended from practicing law in Utah. Guillermo “Gizmo” Farias is accused of raping a child more than eight years ago.
Court records show, Judge Thomas Willmore cancelled the four day trial, Monday morning during a final pretrial conference in 1st District Court. The trial, scheduled to begin August 9, was postponed after the court learned how Farias’ defense attorney, John C. Cooper had been disciplined by the Office of Professional Conduct in several unrelated cases.
According to the discipline order, Cooper illegally billed and failed to properly represent several clients, who filed complaints with the Utah Supreme Court. He was prohibited from performing any legal services until 2024.
The latest development adds further delay for Farias, who was first arrested in April 2020, when a warrant was issued by a judge. He was charged with rape of a child, a first-degree felony; and, three counts of sex abuse of a child, a second-degree felony.
According to the arrest warrant, Logan City police officers were contacted by the alleged victim last year. She described how Farias, a family acquaintance, raped her when she was 12-years-old more than nine years ago.
The incident reportedly occurred when the girl and an 18-year-old family friend went to Farias’ residence in Logan. On that night, the girl was provided alcohol and fell asleep on a couch. She later woke up to discover the suspect pulling her from the couch. He allegedly raped her as she pushed him away and told him “no.”
Farias has pleaded not guilty to the charges. The case has been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, which prohibited in-person court hearings during the past year.
Farias is scheduled to appear for a status hearing Aug. 8, where he’ll announce whether he wishes to hire new council or seek a court appointed attorney. He is currently out of jail on pretrial probation and could face up to life in prison if convicted.
Individuals arrested and charged in complaints are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.