Childress v. State

In Childress v. State, 794 S.W.2d 119 (Tex. App.-Houston 1st Dist. 1990, pet. ref'd), the trial judge denied counsel's motion to withdraw and motion for continuance. Id. at 121. Assuring the court that he would perform to the best of his ability, counsel continued with the trial. Id. On appeal, the defendant claimed that, under the circumstances, it was unlikely that he could have received the effective assistance of counsel. Id. at 122. The claimed circumstances included his desire to discharge his attorney, the attorney's desire to withdraw from the case, the attorney's claim of lack of preparation and inability to defend because of the defendant's refusal to speak with him, and the trial judge forcing a quick trial. Id. The Court acknowledged that "if counsel entirely fails to subject the prosecution's case to meaningful adversarial testing, the accused's sixth amendment right to effectiveness is presumptively prejudiced." Id. However, the Court concluded that the denial of counsel's motions did not render his assistance presumptively ineffective, where counsel was present, participated in the trial, and engaged in meaningful adversarial testing. Id. The Court held that the appropriate inquiry should focus on the adversarial process and not on the accused's relationship with his lawyer. Id. Thus, if counsel is a reasonably effective advocate, he meets constitutional standards irrespective of his client's evaluation of his performance. Id.