Judge Urges Sleepy Suspect to Hire Lawyer

Deowraj Buddhu's frequent naps could hinder his defense plans, judge said.

Thursday, Jul 12, 2012  |  Updated 6:48 PM EDT
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Judge Urges Sleepy Suspect to Hire Lawyer

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A Wethersfield man facing fraud charges wants to represent himself in court, but his frequent naps may keep him from doing so.

Deowraj “Deo” Buddhu, 69, wears a portable oxygen tank and admits to getting tired after walking fifty yards.  He takes medication for his heart, blood pressure and diabetes, and admits to taking several naps.

In court Thursday, Judge Alvin Thompson didn't like the idea of Buddhu playing lawyer.

“We can’t try a case two hours a day,” Judge Thompson said.  “It wouldn’t be fair to the jury.”

Buddhu is in a federal holding facility awaiting his chance to defend himself against fraud charges.  He and his daughter, Sunita, are accused of running a debt elimination scheme out of their home that targeted mostly non-English speaking customers.  Many customers are alleged to have lost their homes to foreclosure as a result of their dealings with the Buddhus.  Court papers reveal there could be as many as 200 victims.

Federal agents raided the Buddhu residence last month and obtained more than 20 boxes of potential evidence.  Prosecutors say they are still sifting through the paperwork.

The Deowraj Buddhu would also get a chance to research the boxes if he is allowed to be his own lawyer.
 
Judge Thompson expressed concern that the defendant’s frequent naps could hinder Buddhu’s trial preparation.

Buddhu admitted to the judge on Thursday that he has a lot to learn about the law, but said he would make the time to prepare for his defense and find the energy to do it.

Judge Thompson will announce his decision on whether to grant Buddhu’s request next month.  Jury selection for Deowraj and Sunita Buddhu’s trial is set for September 10.

Sunita Buddhu has retained counsel.

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