Wednesday, October 2, 2013
A drug defendant who met his appointed counsel for the first time on the day of trial was not denied the effective assistance of counsel when the judge denied his request for an adjournment, according to a decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court.
The attorney had 19 years of experience but "had not tried an adult criminal case in seven years." The attorney spent 10-11 hours preparing the night before but did not meet with the defendant. Attorney and client "conferred for about fifty-five minutes in an empty stairwell at the courthouse" the next day.
The court majority concluded that the situation did not deny effective assistance and "did not violate principles of fundamental fairness."
Justice Albin dissented. (Mike Frisch)