Blackwell v. State

In Blackwell v. State, 338 Ark. 671, 1 S.W.3d 399 (Ark. 1999) addressed whether a delay from the need for the appointment of new counsel is excludable as good cause. 338 Ark. 671, 1 S.W.3d 399 (Ark. 1999) In Blackwell, the court stated defendant "exhibited some difficulty in working with counsel; he had three attorneys, two of whom withdrew with the court's permission." Id. at 400. Trial was scheduled and at a hearing prior to the trial, a third attorney was appointed because defendant informed the court that his attorney betrayed him, he was afraid of his attorney, he believed his attorney failed to do any of the things a prudent attorney would have done, and he could not work with his attorney. Id. Prior to appointing new counsel, the court discussed with the parties the complexities of the case and how difficult it would be for new counsel to be prepared for the scheduled trial. Id. The trial court appointed counsel and reset the trial date almost four months later. Id. The trial court charged the 126-day delay to the defendant because of the problems he exhibited with his counsel and the Arkansas Supreme Court found this to be correct. Id. The court explained "when a delay results from the need for the appointment of new counsel, such appointment is excludable for good cause." Id. at 400-01. The court further elucidated that the "appointment of new counsel was required because of defendant's inability to work with his (second) counsel and because the State's case involved a 'massive' amount of documents, the trial court's action in ordering a continuance to permit new counsel additional time to prepare for trial was a delay for good cause attributable against defendant under Rule 28.3(h)." Id. at 401. Rule 28.3 of the Arkansas Rules of Criminal Procedure delineates the excluded periods of delay and subsection (h) excludes the delay for good cause shown and states in pertinent part: RULE 28.3 EXCLUDED PERIODS The following periods shall be excluded in computing the time for trial. Such periods shall be set forth by the court in a written order or docket entry, but it shall not be necessary for the court to make the determination until the defendant has moved to enforce his right to a speedy trial pursuant to Rule 28 unless it is specifically provided to the contrary below. The number of days of the excluded period or periods shall be added to the time applicable to the defendant as set forth in Rules 28.1 and 28.2 to determine the limitations and consequences applicable to the defendant. (h) Other periods of delay for good cause. Ark. R. Crim. P. 28.3(h).