Rehearing and Rehearing In Banc Denied November 6, 1979.
HARLINGTON WOOD, Jr., Circuit Judge.
The defendant-appellant, Willie L. Davis, was convicted of interference with commerce by extortion in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951, and armed robbery of a bank in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113, by a jury on October 17, 1978, and sentenced to a total of forty-five years imprisonment. In these consolidated appeals from the judgment of conviction, the denial of his motion for a new trial, and the dismissal of his section 2255 petition, he alleges a variety of errors all stemming, at least in part, from difficulties that developed between him and his several attorneys prior to trial. We affirm.
On the evening of June 14, 1978, the family of Richard Ziebell was taken captive in their home by three armed intruders. The intruders demanded that Ziebell, the branch manager of the Great Midwest Savings and Loan, go to the bank and turn over all its money. He was told that if he failed to cooperate, his family would be injected with "enough heroin . . . to kill five horses . . . and they would die a terrible death." Several syringes and some brown powder were exhibited to Mr. Ziebell to impress upon him the seriousness of the threat. He complied with the intruders' demands.
The defendant was arrested on June 26 and appeared at a bail hearing with Attorney Crandall the following day. The defendant was found to be indigent and an attorney was appointed to represent him. The magistrate, however, declined to appoint Crandall despite her willingness to accept appointment. The defendant's appointed counsel was soon relieved of his duties apparently because the defendant's family retained another attorney — Mr. Alan Eisenberg — to handle the case. The record shows that the second attorney filed several motions on the defendant's behalf, but on September 8 — just ten days before the day set for trial — the defendant became dissatisfied with Mr. Eisenberg's representation and requested that the trial court appoint new counsel. The defendant requested the appointment of Attorney Crandall, or barring that, one of several other Wisconsin attorneys.
The appointment of new counsel, however, did not cease the defendant's complaints about the quality of his legal representation. Less than two weeks after Mr. Reilly's appointment, the defendant requested that Judge Reynolds recuse himself and that Reilly be dismissed and Crandall be appointed as his attorney. Judge Reynolds honored the defendant's first request, and Judge Gordon, after the transfer of the case to his docket, honored, in part, the second. The defendant had complained of a personality conflict with his latest attorney, and, although Judge Gordon later remarked that he regarded the defendant's complaint as specious, on September 28 he accommodated him by dismissing Mr. Reilly and appointing yet another attorney. Judge Gordon, however, declined to appoint Crandall as the defendant had requested.
The new attorney, Mr. Perlson, did not learn of his appointment until October 3 and first interviewed his new client on the 6th. In the meantime, the defendant had mailed to the district court a motion to postpone his trial and sundry other motions as well as a renewal of his request for the appointment of Crandall as his attorney. In one of the communications he expressed his desire to represent himself if Crandall were not appointed. After his first meeting with Mr. Perlson, it took the defendant only four days to become dissatisfied once again with the quality of the legal representation on his behalf and to request the court to dismiss his latest attorney and replace him with Crandall. No other defense motion appears in the record until the day scheduled for trial.
On the day of the trial, the defendant's attorney requested a continuance. The request was denied. The court then suggested that defense counsel might withdraw, leaving the defendant to handle his own case, and the attorney did so. The trial judge then adjourned the matter until that afternoon.
In the afternoon the matter of the defendant's legal representation was reexamined. It appeared that in the morning, the
In the other appeals, he maintains that the trial court abused its discretion in denying his post-trial motion for a new trial on the basis of newly discovered evidence and erred in dismissing his section 2255 motion for collateral relief.
Much of the controversy before this court finds its source in the defendant's insistence that Attorney Crandall be appointed as his counsel. Consequently, we examine first his argument that the trial court arbitrarily declined to appoint the attorney of his choice. The defendant concedes, as he must, that an indigent has no absolute right to counsel of his choice. United States v. Hampton, 457 F.2d 299, 301 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 409 U.S. 856, 93 S.Ct. 136, 34 L.Ed.2d 101 (1972); United States v. White, 451 F.2d 1225 (6th Cir. 1971) (per curiam). See generally Annot., 66 A.L.R.3d 996 (1975). Instead he proposes two standards either one of which, if adopted, would require the reversal of his conviction. First, the defendant suggests that ordinarily a defendant's request for a particular attorney should be honored unless the government can establish that the appointment would disrupt the orderly administration of justice. At oral argument, the defendant proposed a test honed more specifically to the facts of this case: when there is no public defender program and private attorneys are appointed at random, and if the defendant is already represented by an attorney in another criminal action, the defendant requests that the attorney be appointed, and the attorney manifests his willingness to accept an appointment, then the request should be honored absent some showing by the government why the attorney should not be appointed. The defendant stresses the importance to a defendant accused of a crime to have an attorney whom he trusts and respects.
We decline to adopt either of the standards proposed by the defendant. We believe the district court's policy not to honor a defendant's request for the appointment of a particular attorney in the circumstances of this case is rational and reasonably necessary to the orderly administration of the system of providing defense services to those financially unable to retain counsel on their own.
ABA Standards, Providing Defense Services § 2.3, comment b (Approved Draft, 1968).
The plan adopted by the Eastern District of Wisconsin under the Criminal Justice Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3006A, relies on a panel of private attorneys to satisfy the demand for court-appointed attorneys. The plan apparently contemplates that assignments shall generally be made on a rotational basis.
Given the district court's system of assigning counsel to represent defendants facing criminal charges, we do not believe the burden rests upon either the prosecution or the district court to justify the refusal to grant a defendant's request for the appointment of a specific attorney. The need for the rational assignment of counsel for criminal defendants is a systemic one, not amenable to particular justification in each individual case. Although we do not mean to suggest that it would be beyond the power of the trial court to honor a defendant's request for the appointment of a particular attorney,
The defendant's second argument is that the trial court erred in denying the motion for a continuance made by appointed counsel the morning of trial. The disposition of a motion for a continuance is a matter largely committed to the trial court's discretion. The trial judge is inevitably in a better position than an appellate court reviewing a cold record to determine the moving party's need and justification for additional time, the effect that a continuance may have on the opposing party, and the additional burden that rescheduling may have on the court's docket. Thus, ordinarily the refusal of the trial court to grant a continuance is virtually unreviewable. The Supreme Court has recognized, however, that an unjustifiable denial of a continuance could reduce the right to defend with the assistance of counsel to nothing more than an empty formality. Ungar v. Sarafite, 376 U.S. 575, 588-91, 84 S.Ct. 841, 11 L.Ed.2d 921 (1964); Avery v. Alabama, 308 U.S. 444, 60 S.Ct. 321, 84 L.Ed. 377 (1940). Thus, the appellate courts will in some cases review a denial of a continuance for abuse of discretion.
Appellate review for what constitutes abusive or arbitrary action on the part of the district court is a fact-sensitive inquiry. "[I]t is not every denial of a request for more time that violates due process even if the party fails to offer evidence or is compelled to defend without counsel." Ungar, 376 U.S. at 589, 84 S.Ct. at 849. Reported decisions offer little guidance; each decision necessarily turns on the particular facts and circumstances of the case. Id.; United States v. Rothman, 567 F.2d 744, 748 (7th Cir. 1977); Giacalone v. Lucas, 445 F.2d 1238, 1240 (6th Cir. 1971), cert. denied, 405 U.S. 922, 92 S.Ct. 960, 30 L.Ed.2d 793 (1972). See generally Annot., 73 A.L.R.3d 725 (1976).
Attorney Perlson argued before the trial court that a continuance was necessary because of the relatively short period of time he had had to prepare and the need "to confront the prosecution's witnesses, to investigate every semblance of proof which will help exonerate my client, to search out our witnesses for alibi and defense." He also noted the need to examine in greater detail the voluminous material voluntarily disclosed "by a generous and fair prosecution." He requested at least sixty days. The U. S. Attorney objected to a continuance, noted its earlier demand for notice of alibi had gone unanswered, and stated its readiness to go to trial. In fact, approximately thirty government witnesses were then under subpoena.
Viewing the record as a whole, we cannot say that the court abused its discretion. Although the length of time the newly appointed counsel had to prepare for trial, about two and one half weeks, was short, this and other courts have declined to upset convictions despite denials of continuances under similar circumstances. See United States v. Long, 419 F.2d 91 (5th Cir. 1969); United States v. DeWelles, 345 F.2d 387 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 382 U.S. 833, 86 S.Ct. 76, 15 L.Ed.2d 77 (1965); United States v. Yager, 220 F.2d 795 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 349 U.S. 963, 75 S.Ct. 895, 99 L.Ed. 1285 (1955). Defense counsel was not completely unprepared; he admitted having broad access to the government's files and had been able to consult with the defendant three times. He requested a substantial period of time for preparation, but was rather vague about what avenue of defense necessitated so much time.
The defendant's brief suggests that on the facts of this case that a continuance would not have disrupted the trial court's docket and therefore that the necessity for the orderly administration of justice should not weigh heavily in the balance of factors relevant to the review of the trial court's action. The defendant argues that only one and one half days had been set aside for his trial, that, although the trial was in fact completed within that time, it would not have been had he cross-examined witnesses and presented a defense, and that therefore there was no compelling reason to go to trial that day. We do not believe, however, that absent highly unusual circumstances not present here such nice considerations have any place before this court. Few, if any, people are better acquainted with the probable length of trials and the difficulty of rescheduling cases before the district court than the trial judge himself. The Speedy Trial Act requires that the district court bring criminal cases to trial with speed. We do not believe that the function of this court is to instruct the trial court not only how fast to try cases, but also in what order to try them. Even if we assume that the defendant's trial could not have been brought to an end within the time estimated by the trial court, the grant of the continuance would have left the court with an empty calendar for one and one half days which it may not have been able to fill on such short notice. Judge Gordon had already had to rearrange his calendar once to accommodate the defendant's trial within the limits set by the Speedy Trial Act, thus displacing other matters pending before the court. "The condition of most criminal dockets demands reasonably prompt disposition of cases; when cases are set far in advance for a day certain, an unreasonable delay in one case only serves to delay other cases, and this carries the potential for prejudice to the rights of other defendants." United States v. Burton, 189 U.S.App.D.C. 327, 332, 584 F.2d 485, 490 (D.C.Cir. 1978), cert. denied, 439 U.S. 1069, 99 S.Ct. 837, 59 L.Ed.2d 34 (1979). We hold that the judge did not abuse his discretion in declining to rearrange his calendar once again.
The defendant's third argument is that the trial court did not undertake an
Johnson v. Zerbst, 304 U.S. 458, 464, 58 S.Ct. 1019, 1023, 82 L.Ed. 1461 (1938). See also North Carolina v. Butler, ___ U.S. ___, 99 S.Ct. 1755, 60 L.Ed.2d 286 (April 24, 1979). Even though we indulge in all reasonable presumptions against a defendant's waiver of his Sixth Amendment rights, Day v. United States, 357 F.2d 907, 909 (7th Cir. 1966), we believe the trial court's inquiry was sufficient under the circumstances of this case and that the record fairly supports the trial court's conclusion that the defendant waived his right to counsel.
Prior to the commencement of trial on the afternoon of October 16, the trial court asked the defendant how he wished to proceed. Earlier events had admittedly narrowed the alternatives available. The trial court made it clear earlier that morning that the case would proceed to trial forthwith. The trial court repeated to the defendant its resolve to proceed to trial and told him that an appeal would have to await the end of trial. The trial court also impressed upon the defendant that no new counsel would be appointed. The defendant responded that he appreciated that fact. We believe that the record, fairly read, shows that the trial judge offered the defendant three alternatives: (1) to proceed pro se, (2) to so proceed but with Mr. Perlson as standby counsel, or (3) to proceed with Mr. Perlson as his attorney.
Although the trial court had permitted Mr. Perlson to withdraw earlier that day,
We think that the record adequately establishes that the defendant made a knowing, intelligent choice to waive counsel — intelligent in the sense that it was made with knowledge and appreciation of his rights, his alternatives, and the possible consequences of choosing among them. The record
We also believe that the defendant's choice was made voluntarily. As we noted above, on the day of the trial his range of choice was narrowed. The trial court had rejected his requests for the appointment of Crandall as his attorney. The court had also denied his motions to postpone the trial. But the requirement that a waiver of counsel be voluntary
Maynard v. Meachum, 545 F.2d 273, 278 (1st Cir. 1976). The defendant had no right to have the court appoint him the attorney of his choice. The trial court acted within its discretion in declining to grant an additional continuance. The defendant's complaints about the quality of his legal representation were baseless. The limitations on the range of free choice presented to the defendant were constitutionally permissible and his choice within those limits was knowing and intelligent. We conclude, as did the trial court, that he abandoned his right to be represented by counsel at trial. See Arnold v. United States, 414 F.2d 1056, 1057-58 (9th Cir.1969), cert. denied, 396 U.S. 1021, 90 S.Ct. 593, 24 L.Ed.2d 514 (1970).
The defendant's next argument is that the trial court abused its discretion in denying his motion for a new trial on the basis of newly discovered evidence. The affidavits accompanying the motion set out the impressions of an investigator after interviews with several individuals. Taken together the affidavits tend to make out an alibi defense.
The law with respect to motions for new trials based on newly discovered evidence is fairly well-settled. As the court noted in United States v. Ellison, 557 F.2d 128 (7th Cir.), cert. denied, 434 U.S. 965, 98 S.Ct. 504, 54 L.Ed.2d 450 (1977):
Id. at 133 n.2. These standards reflect the fact that such motions "are not favored by the courts and are viewed with great caution." United States v. Curran, 465 F.2d 260, 262 (7th Cir. 1972) (quoting 2 C. Wright, Federal Practice and Procedure § 557 at 515 (1969)). The standard of appellate review seems equally well established: "The thrust of our inquiry is whether the board discretion, which the trial judge wisely has in this situation, has been abused." Id. at 262. Professor Wright has remarked that the appellant from a trial court's denial
2 C. Wright, Federal Practice and Procedure § 559 at 541-42 (1969).
We regard it as extremely doubtful that this alibi evidence could be properly regarded as either newly discovered or unascertainable by due diligence. See Cleary v. United States, 163 F.2d 748 (9th Cir. 1947), cert. denied, 333 U.S. 864, 68 S.Ct. 736, 92 L.Ed. 1143 (1948). The time between the crime and the trial was not so long that memories would have faded or that the defendant would have been unable to reconstruct his whereabouts during the time that the government maintains he was planning and perpetrating the crime. Moreover, since three of the alibi witnesses are relatives of the defendant,
The trial court, however, chose not to base its denial of the motion on this ground. Instead, it held that after considering the materials supporting the defendant's motion, it was convinced that they would not produce a different verdict if a new trial were granted. We defer to the trial court's conclusion. In determining whether the new evidence would produce a different result, of course, the trial judge must consider not only the new evidence, but also the evidence that was introduced at trial. The evidence that the government presented to establish the defendant's guilt was direct as well as circumstantial. An accomplice identified him in court as a participant in the criminal venture. The defendant matched the description of the suspect given by the victims of the crime. His fingerprint was found on one of the items which was found together with other objects tied to the commission of the crime. The gun and car used in the robbery were identified as belonging to the defendant's sister. Numerous other items of physical evidence corroborated the testimony of the defendant's accomplice and the government's theory of the case. We see no reason to disturb the trial court's conclusion that the new evidence — if it could truly be considered new — was insufficient to satisfy the requirement that it probably would produce a different result if a new trial were granted.
The defendant's final argument is that the trial court erred in dismissing his motion made pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2255. The trial court held that since the defendant's direct appeal from the judgment of conviction was still pending and since no extraordinary circumstances were present, the motion under section 2255 was improper.
Ordinarily a section 2255 action is improper during the pendency of an appeal from the conviction. Welsh v. United States, 404 F.2d 333 (5th Cir. 1968); Womack v. United States, 129 U.S.App.D.C. 407, 395 F.2d 630 (1968); Masters v. Eide, 353 F.2d 517, 518 (8th Cir. 1965); Black v. United States, 269 F.2d 38, 41 (9th Cir. 1959), cert. denied, 361 U.S. 938, 80 S.Ct. 379, 4 L.Ed.2d 357 (1960). As the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has held:
Womack, 395 F.2d at 631.
The defendant while not disagreeing with this rule maintains that extraordinary circumstances warranted that the trial court entertain the motion in this case. Whether extraordinary circumstances exist is a question the answer to which depends upon the balancing of the need for speedy relief against the need for conservation of judicial resources. The determination is best left to the sound discretion of the trial judge. Judge Gordon determined that no extraordinary circumstances justified an exception to the general rule in this case. We are not disposed to disagree. Our affirmance, of course, does not preclude the defendant from renewing his motion for relief upon termination of these appeals.
We do not deprecate the fundamental right to counsel by the repeated references to the need for the orderly administration of criminal justice in our decision here. The central importance of the assistance of counsel in protecting personal liberty and ensuring the fairness of criminal trials is unquestioned. Nevertheless, a defendant cannot be permitted to exercise his right to counsel in such a way as to manipulate the time and conduct of his trial. "The public has a strong interest in the prompt, effective and efficient administration of justice; the public's interest in the dispensation of justice that is not unreasonably delayed has great force." United States v. Burton, 189 U.S.App.D.C. 327, 331, 584 F.2d 485, 489 (1978), cert. denied, 439 U.S. 1069, 99 S.Ct. 837, 59 L.Ed.2d 34 (1979).
Our judicial system reposes in the trial judge the primary responsibility for balancing the interests of the defendant against those of the public when those interests conflict. See ABA Standards, The Function of the Trial Judge § 1.1 (Approved Draft, 1972). See also Illinois v. Allen, 397 U.S. 337, 90 S.Ct. 1057, 25 L.Ed.2d 353 (1970). As an appellate court, we accord substantial weight to the balance that the trial judge has struck. Although we cannot say that we would have proceeded in exactly the same manner that the trial court did here, we also cannot say that the court abused its discretion or abridged the defendant's rights. The judgment of conviction and the trial court's disposition of the post-trial motions are, accordingly,
United States v. Burton, 189 U.S.App.D.C. 327, 332-333, 584 F.2d 485, 490-91 (1978), cert. denied, 439 U.S. 1069, 99 S.Ct. 837, 59 L.Ed.2d 34 (1979).
The trial court's action permitting Mr. Perlson's withdrawal seems to have been intended to protect another of the defendant's constitutional rights — the right to self-representation. See Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806, 95 S.Ct. 2525, 45 L.Ed.2d 562 (1975). This right, also guaranteed by statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1654, generally must be timely and unequivocally asserted and accompanied by a valid waiver of counsel. See generally Faretta, supra; Chapman v. United States, 553 F.2d 886 (5th Cir. 1977). We need not decide here whether the defendant unequivocally asserted this right or whether, if he did, his assertion of the right was timely. It is sufficient to note that had the trial court insisted on Mr. Perlson's continued representation of the defendant, the defendant might now have been complaining that the trial court abridged his right to represent himself.
In any event, we do not believe that the court's permission to appointed counsel to withdraw significantly affected the defendant's subsequent decision to proceed pro se. The defendant actively sought Mr. Perlson's removal from the case and, as we subsequently discuss, unequivocally rejected his assistance.