by Max Brantley
But Howard wants to add a private attorney to his defense team. He fears his federal defenders are willing to strike a deal for a life without parole sentence and he objects to their use of mental retardation as a defense. He argues that he's competent and that he wants exoneration, nothing less. The federal public defenders are fighting Howard's effort to add Patrick Benca to his defense team. They are fighting to the point that they've retained a private law frim to fight Benca's effort to represent Howard.