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Name: People v. Richardson
Case #: C055688
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 02/24/2009

A defendant is entitled to have the court consider discharge of appointed counsel and appointment of substitute counsel where he has clearly indicated a desire for new counsel; a request for a new trial on the basis of ineffective assistance of trial counsel, alone, does not impose a duty on the court to conduct a Marsden hearing. Following his conviction at trial for burglary, kidnapping, and terrorist threats but before sentencing, appellant sent a letter to the court requesting a new trial, in part, on the basis of claimed ineffectiveness of trial counsel. The court appointed separate counsel to review issues raised by the letter. Separate counsel ultimately advised the court that he concluded that there was no legal basis for a new trial and the court sentenced appellant to state prison. The appellate court rejected appellant’s argument that the trial court erred in not conducting a Marsden hearing (People v. Marsden (1970) 2 Cal.3d 118), following receipt of appellant’s correspondence. The court’s duty to conduct a <>Marsden hearing is triggered when there is some clear indication that defendant wants a substitute attorney. Here, despite appellant’s complaints regarding counsel’s performance during trial, neither his communications with the court nor his later comments to the court during hearing revealed a desire for substitute counsel.