Request for a Substitute Counsel in California

In People v. Jones (2003) 29 Cal.4th 1229, the defendant stated the grounds for requesting substitute counsel: (1) the defendant and counsel were not "'getting along'"; (2) counsel did not visit the defendant prior to an earlier hearing; (3) counsel did not do everything on the "'long list'" of tasks the defendant assigned him; (4) counsel believed the defendant guilty, as evidenced by his discussion of a possible plea bargain. Counsel addressed each of the defendant's complaints: (1) although the defendant and counsel had disagreements, counsel saw "'no reason'" why he could not continue to represent the defendant; (2) counsel visited the defendant on numerous occasions; (3) counsel provided lengthy and detailed investigation requests; (4) counsel discussed possible sentences at the defendant's request. (Id. at p. 1245.) The Supreme Court found no abuse of discretion in the trial court's denial of the defendant's motion, noting: "If a defendant's claimed lack of trust in, or inability to get along with, an appointed attorney were sufficient to compel appointment of substitute counsel, defendants effectively would have a veto power over any appointment, and by a process of elimination could obtain appointment of their preferred attorneys, which is certainly not the law." (Jones, supra, 29 Cal.4th at p. 1246.)