Defendant can be entitled to Adjournment to Select Own Counsel. State v Kates 216 NJ 393 (2014)
The judgment of the Appellate Division was affirmed substantially for the reasons expressed in Judge Ostrer’s opinion below. Deprivation of a defendant’s right to counsel of choice is found where, as here, a trial court denies an adjournment without properly considering the relevant factors or abuses its discretion in doing so.
The Appellate Division held Defendant Entitled to Adjournment to Select Own Counsel. State v. Kates 426 NJ Super. 32 (App. Div. 2012)
The Appellate Division concluded the trial court mistakenly exercised its discretion in denying defendant a continuance to enable him to retain counsel of his choice, after he learned on the eve of trial that the assistant deputy public defender who had been representing him was about to deployed for active military service. Although the right to counsel of choice is not absolute and may be balanced against the court's interest in managing its calendar, the trial court failed to weigh the appropriate factors governing the discretionary decision whether to grant the requested continuance. The availability of competent counsel not of defendant's choice was an insufficient basis for denying the continuance. As deprivation of counsel of choice is a structural error not subject to harmless error analysis, reversal of defendant's conviction and a new trial is mandated.