Fifth public defender in two years appointed for South Jacksonville man

By Benjamin Cox on March 13, 2019 at 3:45pm

A South Jacksonville man charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse and indecent solicitation of a child was assigned his fifth public defense attorney Tuesday in court.

42 year old Joshua Bruns appeared in Morgan County Court Tuesday. Presiding Judge Chris Reif appointed Greg Sronce as defense counsel, the latest public defender to represent Bruns, after a conflict apparently arose with the previously appointed attorney Anne Clough.

Bruns was arrested in March 2017 and is accused of fondling the breasts of a family member under the age of 18 and soliciting the victim to touch him sexually. After an attempted motion to reduce bond failed in December 2017, Bruns was released just three days later when he paid $2,000 cash to cover the minimum 10 percent post for his listed $20,000 bond.

Greg Sronce will be the fifth attorney to represent Bruns. When Bruns first appeared in court for these charges almost two years ago, public defender Tom Piper was appointed to represent Bruns. Piper’s appointment was vacated on November 1st, 2017. Public defender Jonathan Hurst was then appointed, but he filed a motion to withdraw as defense counsel in April of last year. This was when Special public defender Craig Grummel was appointed to defend Bruns. Grummel made a motion to withdraw as defense counsel in January of this year, and it was accepted. Anne Clough was then appointed to defense counsel, but a conflict of interest supposedly arose concerning Clough, so her appointment was vacated last week.

Bruns is next set to appear in court with Attorney Sronce for a pre-trial conference on April 3rd at 9 a.m. It is unclear at this time what the conflict of interest was that led to Attorney Clough being removed as defense counsel.