• 5 min to read

TRAVERSE CITY — An imprisoned lawyer could return to a courtroom after the prosecution’s key witness claimed he gave false testimony amid a co…

TRAVERSE CITY — A last-minute guilty plea will spare Traverse City-based attorney Clarence Gomery a trial on accusations he planned to put a hit on a rival lawyer. More than three hours passed on Friday afternoon as 13th Circuit Court staff and observers waited for Gomery, 59, to appear for his last court hearing before a trial on a solicitation of murder charge. Gomery shuffled in, bound by chains and clad in jail orange, and soon made the reason for the long wait clear:

TRAVERSE CITY -- The dock installer-turned-police-informant with whom Clarence Gomery conspired to kill a rival attorney usually isn't at a loss for words, whether he's wearing a wire for deputies or talking to the media.

TRAVERSE CITY — Clarence Gomery pleaded guilty today to solicitation of murder. The plea agreement dismisses a charge of solicitation of a felony with a dangerous weapon. Gomery is accused of of trying to solicit rival attorney Christopher Cooke's murder. Follow Record-Eagle.com for updates on this story.

  • Updated

TRAVERSE CITY — Clarence Gomery's assets could be liquidated after a federal judge found Gomery did not act in good faith when he sought bankruptcy protection, a financial move that authorities believe gave him motive to seek a rival attorney's death.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Frigid weather, chilling crimes, oft-frosty debates over local issues, and government officials who turned a cold shoulder to transparency and accountability dominated headlines in the Grand Traverse region in 2014. The following represent 10 significant stories as reported by the Record-Eagle over the past year:

TRAVERSE CITY — A judge shut the door on Clarence Gomery's claim of entrapment in a case that accuses him of seeking the murder of a rival attorney.

TRAVERSE CITY — An attempt to weave a cloth of gold from ragged wool. That's how 13th Circuit Court Judge Philip Rodgers characterized an attorney's efforts to argue that his client Clarence Gomery — accused of trying to solicit rival attorney Christopher Cooke's murder — was the victim of an elaborate set-up orchestrated by Cooke and Dale Fisher, the would-be hitman and the state's key witness in its case against Gomery.

TRAVERSE CITY — A 13th Circuit Court judge ruled Clarence Gomery's defense attorney needs to do more to support an argument that his client was the victim of a conspiracy before he can present that theory to a jury. Gomery, a Traverse City attorney, is charged with solicitation of murder. Authorities allege he tried to pay a man named Dale Fisher to kill rival attorney Christopher Cooke in July, but Gomery's lawyer Frank Stanley during a hearing today argued Cooke and Fisher instead conspired to frame Gomery, and Gomery never really intended to have Cooke killed.

TRAVERSE CITY — A delay in Clarence Gomery's criminal trial didn't keep him from sitting on a witness stand to face hours of questions from a …

TRAVERSE CITY — Clarence Gomery took a brief sojourn from Grand Traverse County's jail to tell a judge he wishes to keep his ailing attorney, …

TRAVERSE CITY — A judge adjourned Traverse City attorney Clarence Gomery’s solicitation of murder trial because of his defense attorney’s health condition.

TRAVERSE CITY — A defense attorney's health problems could significantly delay Clarence Gomery's trial on a solicitation of murder charge. Frank Stanley, who represents Gomery, 59, of Traverse City, filed a motion this week in 13th Circuit Court that seeks to adjourn an upcoming hearing and the Nov. 12 trial. It cites "circumstances beyond the control of the defense," but does not elaborate.

TRAVERSE CITY — Clarence Gomery's alibi against accusations he sought a rival Traverse City attorney's death could bolster a bid to land his trial in another county, but prosecutors contend it's too vague to even investigate.

TRAVERSE CITY — A judge wants Clarence Gomery's attorney to show his defense strategy holds water and that his requests for certain records wo…

TRAVERSE CITY — Clarence Gomery's trial on a solicitation of murder charge will be shaped by a volley of court filings fired between his defen…

TRAVERSE CITY

Another judge will preside over Traverse City attorney Clarence Gomery's criminal trial after 13th Circuit Court Judge Thomas Power disqualified himself from the case. Power said Friday during a motion hearing that his decisions as judge in a 2013 civil trial in which Gomery, 59, of Traverse City, and rival attorney Christopher Cooke squared off could cause complications for jurors in an upcoming criminal trial.

Clarence Gomery's past associations in the local legal world likely will be a contentious topic, even before a witness takes the stand in his trial on accusations he put out a hit on a rival Traverse City attorney.

A jury could soon decide whether Traverse City attorney Clarence Gomery made an unsuccessful bid to be a criminal mastermind.

Dale Fisher and Christopher Cooke publicly threatened each other during a heated confrontation at a local sandwich shop in January.

Traverse City Area Public Schools' interim superintendent said officials acted appropriately when they pulled a female student from class to privately meet with a man at East Middle School in January, a 40-minute meeting during which the man — a convicted sex offender and key witness in a recent murder for hire case — told the girl her father didn’t want them spending any more time together.

  • Updated

TRAVERSE CITY — Clarence Gomery’s attorney wants a head start on obtaining cell phone and social media records that could be evidence in his c…

  • Updated

Local attorney Christopher Cooke turned to a friend when he heard someone wanted him dead. That friend was Nathan Alger, Grand Traverse County

s undersheriff.

Archives
  • Updated

TRAVERSE CITY — Clarence Gomery wanted rival Traverse City attorney Christopher Cooke dead, a key witness -- and would-be hitman -- testified.

Archives
  • Updated

Because of a photographer's error, a Friday Arts and Entertainment photo caption listed the wrong date for "Gwen Day" at Gwen Frostic Prints i…

  • Updated

Because of a page designer's error, a pullout quote on Sunday's Page 5 should have been attributed to Paul Jarboe, who at the time was murder-…

  • Updated

TRAVERSE CITY — A new attorney will represent a Traverse City lawyer accused of hatching a murder-for-hire scheme.

Archives
  • Updated

TRAVERSE CITY — A judge could decide whether a police report that details a Traverse City attorney’s alleged murder-for-hire scheme will be pu…

  • Updated

TRAVERSE CITY — Grand Traverse County's sheriff backed off his efforts to bar potential media access to a jailed high-profile criminal defenda…

  • Updated

TRAVERSE CITY — Court officials agreed to push back the next court appearance for a local attorney accused of trying to orchestrate a murder-f…

Archives
  • Updated

TRAVERSE CITY — The man who tipped off authorities about an alleged murder-for-hire scheme said he doesn't know why Traverse City attorney Cla…

  • Updated

TRAVERSE CITY — Clarence Gomery, the well-known Traverse City attorney charged with soliciting murder, has been on both sides of the bench bef…

  • Updated

TRAVERSE CITY — A Traverse City man contacted Grand Traverse County sheriff's investigators and accused local attorney Clarence Gomery of soli…

  • Updated

TRAVERSE CITY — Clarence Gomery appeared in court and waived a formal reading of the criminal complaint that alleges he tried to solicit murder.

  • Updated

TRAVERSE CITY — A prominent Traverse City attorney’s law practice remains open after he sought bankruptcy protection amid a lengthy and potent…

  • Updated

TRAVERSE CITY — A jury ruled a local attorney committed fraud and malpractice in a case of a business deal gone bad.