State v. Ferraro

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Criminal Procedure
  • Date Filed: 07-16-2014
  • Case #: A149092
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Nakamoto, J. for the Court; Armstrong, P.J.; & Egan, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

A trial court abuses its discretion when it fails to grant a continuance to a criminal defendant who has not had adequate opportunity to retain counsel, nor adequate time to mount a defense.

Defendant was charged with sexually abusing and sodomizing his girlfriend’s underage daughter. Defendant confessed, but was denied a court-appointed attorney when it appeared he has the means to secure private counsel. Defendant waived his right to have his case brought to trial within 60 days in order to secure counsel. Defendant had not secured counsel due to theft of his assets within the extension granted to him, so the court granted another extension and appointed a public defender. Defendant, over the next couple months, went through two additional public defenders before once again securing private counsel, and then went back to the most recent public defender. Defendant moved to postpone the trial several times on the grounds that the lawyer he ended up with had not had sufficient time to prepare a defense; each motion was denied. Defendant appealed his convictions, contending the trial court’s denial of his motion to postpone the trial was an abuse of discretion. The Court held the trial court abused its discretion by denying these motions, causing defendant to be prejudiced; by denying defendant’s motion, the court denied defendant the resources necessary to mount a credible defense. Reversed and remanded.

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