Tracy Ferriter comes to court with new attorney but leaves in need of another

Posted at 12:36 PM, December 15, 2023

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (Scripps News West Palm Beach) — Tracy Ferriter is looking for another attorney again.

A woman sits in court

Tracy Ferriter sits in court during her husband’s trial. (Court TV)

The wife of a Jupiter father who kept his adopted son in a box-like structure in their garage appeared in court Friday for a hearing to determine whether her new attorney could be ready to go to trial in January.

Defense attorney Marc Shiner told a Palm Beach County circuit judge that he was retained by Ferriter late Wednesday afternoon and sought a continuance so that he could adequately prepare for trial.

The request came one week after Ferriter’s previous defense attorney, Jennifer Marshall, asked to be removed from the case, citing an “irreconcilable difference.”

Judge Howard Coates, in granting the request, told Marshall that whoever took her place should be prepared to go to trial come January.

READ MORE: FL v. Timothy Ferriter: Boy in a Box Trial

But Shiner said Friday that he needed more time to prepare a proper defense.

“I’m at an extreme disadvantage because I don’t have the discovery at this point or depositions or the trial transcript,” Shiner told Coates.

Shiner said he had a conversation with Marshall and should be able to obtain the files “very quickly.” But Coates reminded him that the trial has been set for January “for quite some time.”

“What you’re stepping into is a situation where the court desires to push this thing along with all dispatch,” Coates told Shiner.

Coates then asked how long it would take Shiner “to get up to speed and be ready to try this case at the earliest opportunity, because I don’t intend to have this case delayed a single day longer than necessary.”

Tim Ferriter listens to sentencing

Tim Ferriter listens as he is sentenced in court. (Court TV)

Shiner asked Coates for 60 days to review everything “and then advise the court.”

But Coates said that gave him concern.

“My druthers would be to give you 60 days to be ready to go to trial,” Coates said, adding that he believes two months was enough time to prepare. “Given the case should be ready for trial already.”

Shiner said it would “probably take three months just to review” the 21,000 videos.

But Coates didn’t budge.

“I’m not going to go past 60 days,” he said.

Shiner said it was “no fault of Ms. Ferriter’s that her attorney withdrew on the eve of trial,” but he said it would be “impossible, even with my whole office,” to be ready in time.

“We couldn’t do this case,” he said. “It’s not possible.”

Assistant State Attorney Brianna Coakley objected to any further delay.

RELATED: Tracy Ferriter’s attorney withdraws, citing irreconcilable differences

“It was set for trial originally in May of ’23 and we moved it to October,” she said. “The defendant was ready to go to trial, and it wasn’t until Sept. 8, 2023, when the state announced which defendant (would go to trial first). Otherwise, she was going to go to trial two weeks later like Mr. Ferriter did.”

Tim Ferriter was convicted in October on charges of child abuse, child neglect and false imprisonment. His wife faces the same charges. Her trial date was set on Oct. 17.

“That was 69 days ago that this case was set for trial in January, and the defendant made no efforts to secure these transcripts that they allegedly need for the purpose of trial,” Coakley said. “In addition, I find it concerning that defense counsel – new defense counsel – has not been provided with discovery yet. All of that discovery is in possession of Mrs. Ferriter and Mr. Ferriter. She has a Dropbox link, as well as a hard drive, with all the videos. She discusses those with Mr. Ferriter. She discussed it way before but also just December the 10th, she discussed it on a jail call with her husband that she’s in possession of a Dropbox link to the entirety of the discovery.”

Coakley said it shows a “persistent pattern” on Tracy Ferriter’s part “of intentionally not taking the steps necessary for the purpose of delay.”

A woman sits with her hand over her face

Tracy Ferriter sits in court as her husband is found guilty on charges of child abuse. (Court TV)

Ultimately, Coates decided to push the start of the trial to March 18. Coates said Tracy Ferriter will have until Jan. 4 to find another attorney “who can work within the schedule that the court’s going to impose in this matter.”

Coates told Shiner he was “very hard-pressed to believe that there’s any substantial amount of work that hasn’t already been done that you couldn’t take and benefit from, so that’s going to be my ruling.”

Shiner told Coates he objected to the court’s ruling and said that, in his 35 years of experience, he doesn’t believe “any lawyer can be competent in the court’s time that you’re giving us.”

“Based on that, I’d like to move to withdraw then, judge,” Shiner said. “I cannot do this.”

This story was originally published by Scripps News West Palm Beach, an E.W. Scripps Company.