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Name: Stuard v. Stewart
Case #: 03-15300
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 03/22/2005

Stuard was indicted on one robbery count, and was approaching trial. The prosecutor filed another indictment charging appellant with numerous other robberies and assaults. This put pressure on defense counsel, who now had to try a much more extensive case involving many more witnesses. However, at the pretrial conference, Stuard refused to waive time, and defense counsel was ambiguous about whether he would be able to prepare in time. On the day of trial, defense counsel said he was ready, but the prosecutor moved for a continuance based on the fact that he feared reversal of a conviction if Stuard went to trial without adequate preparation time. The judge obtained assurances from Stuard that he wanted to proceed to trial. In this habeas petition, Stuard claimed ineffective assistance of counsel based on his attorney’s lack of preparation. The appellate court here rejected the argument and affirmed. Stuard had the power in his own hands to delay the trial a month to give his attorney more time to prepare, and a month delay would not have implicated a constitutional speedy trial right.