Can a Defendant Be Represented by Another Lawyer Without Termination of Representation of the Original One ?

In People v. Little (259 A.D.2d 1031, 688 N.Y.S.2d 313), defendant Little was represented by counsel in 1988 in connection with plea negotiations regarding robbery and homicide charges. The defendant did not accept the plea offer and pleaded guilty to the robbery charges alone. Nine years later, he made an inculpatory statement to the police regarding the homicide. While incarcerated, the defendant made two pro se motions and was represented by another attorney regarding the robbery conviction. In addition (unlike the instant case), the Court found that the police were unaware that defendant had counsel when the investigation began in 1988. In People v. Cotton (163 Misc.2d 943, 623 N.Y.S.2d 70), criminal proceedings were commenced in 1992, with the case being dismissed after presentation to the Grand Jury. The Court found that there was an actual termination of representation by the original attorney and there was an intervening criminal charge against the defendant in the same city. More importantly, the Court noted that defense counsel had expressed to the District Attorney's Office that he no longer represented the defendant. In People v. Rosa (65 N.Y.2d 380, 492 N.Y.S.2d 542, 482 N.E.2d 21), the issue presented "was whether the right to counsel had attached at all in the matter about which the defendant was questioned." People v. West, supra at 378-379. As in West, there is no issue in the case at bar whether the right to counsel attached. The People have conceded this and the facts clearly demonstrate such to be the case.