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Name: People v. Cole
Case #: S027766
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 08/16/2004

In his capital trial, appellant was first represented by the Los Angeles County Public Defender. After the Public Defender declared a conflict, appellant was represented by the Alternate Defense Counsel (ADC). A year later, appellant’s counsel, Brandow, had left the ADC, and requested appointment as counsel to maintain the continuity of representation pursuant to Harris v. Superior Court. At a hearing on the matter, ADC was “neutral” on the motion, but stated it did not have a conflict with representing appellant. The trial court declined to relieve ADC as counsel. After two years of continuances, the trial court stated that it wished it had appointed Brandow as counsel, but that it would appoint attorney Part, who was in the courtroom, to represent appellant if ADC was not ready by the trial date. Appellant renewed his Harris motion regarding attorney Brandow. The trial court denied it and appointed Part to represent appellant. The Court held that the trial court’s original denial of the Harris motion was proper. There was no conflict of interest, ADC represented it was prepared to represent appellant, and no evidence that appellant disagreed with ADC as to trial tactics or any aspect of his defense. Nor did the trial court abuse its discretion in removing ADC as counsel given ADC’s inability to be prepared for trial in time. Further, the appointment of Part was not an abuse of discretion, and appellant’s Marsden motion was properly denied.