CHIEF JUSTICE BURGER delivered the opinion of the Court.
The question presented is whether it was error for the Court of Appeals to hold that the state trial court violated respondent's Sixth Amendment right to counsel by denying respondent's motion for a continuance until the Deputy Public Defender initially assigned to defend him was available. We granted certiorari, 456 U.S. 904 (1982), and we reverse.
The issues raised arise out of two trials in the state court, the second trial having been held on two counts on which the first jury could not agree. Respondent was convicted of robbery, burglary, and false imprisonment in the first trial; he was convicted of rape and forcible oral copulation in the second. On review of all five counts, the California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, affirmed the convictions, and the California Supreme Court denied review. Thereafter the United States District Court denied respondent's petition for a writ of habeas corpus. This denial was reversed by the United States Court of Appeals, which held that the Sixth Amendment guarantees a right to counsel with whom the accused has a "meaningful attorney-client relationship,"
Respondent's pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court set forth two grounds for relief: (a) that the state "[t]rial court abused its discretion by failing to order a substitution of counsel after [respondent and counsel became] embroiled in irreconcilable conflict," Record 3; and (b) that the trial court had not permitted him to testify in his own behalf in the second trial. Ibid. The facts shown by the record conclusively rebut both these claims and are alone dispositive, independent of the correctness of the novel Sixth Amendment guarantee announced by the Court of Appeals.
After midnight on July 7, 1976, the victim, a young woman, left her apartment to shop at a nearby grocery store in San Francisco. There she was accosted by respondent and when she complained to the store manager, he ordered respondent to leave. Respondent waited for the victim outside; when the victim left the store, respondent threw a beer bottle at her. She asked the store manager to call the police, but he told her just to walk away. She then walked home taking the long way around the block, but when she entered her apartment house, respondent was waiting for her in the lobby. From this fact, the jury could have inferred that respondent had been stalking the victim from the time she first left her apartment. Respondent forced the victim into the basement, where, she testified, he raped and sodomized her and then robbed her.
The victim managed to escape from respondent and fled from the building into a nearby all-night diner, where she was sheltered until the police came. She gave the police a
Respondent was charged in San Francisco Superior Court with five felonies.
On the day he was assigned the case, Hotchkiss interviewed respondent in jail and advised him of the substitution. Between that date and the following Tuesday, September 21, Hotchkiss reviewed the files and investigation prepared by his colleague. On Tuesday, he conferred with respondent for three hours; on the following day he again met with respondent in the morning and afternoon.
(a) First Day of First Trial
The first trial began as scheduled on Thursday, September 23. At the opening of trial, respondent told the court: "I only have this P. D. [Public Defender] for a day and a half, we have not had time to prepare this case. He came in Tuesday night, last Tuesday night was the first time I saw him.. . . We have not had enough time to prepare this case." App. 7.
Construing respondent's remarks as a motion for a continuance, the court denied the motion, noting that the case had been assigned to Hotchkiss the previous Friday, six days before the trial date, and that Hotchkiss stated he had "investigated the case, [and] studied it." Id., at 8. In reply, respondent repeated his claim that Hotchkiss had only been on the case for a day and a half.
Respondent then stated:
Hotchkiss explained Goldfine's absence and stated that he was prepared to try the case on the basis of his study of the investigation made by Goldfine and his conferences with respondent. "I feel that I am prepared. My own feeling is that a further continuance would not benefit me in presenting the case." Id., at 11. Respondent replied that he was "satisfied with the Public Defender, but it's just no way, no possible way, that he has had enough time to prepare this case." Id., at 12 (emphasis added).
The trial judge repeated that he was confident that the Public Defender's Office was representing respondent adequately
(b) Second Day of First Trial
At the start of the second day of trial, on Friday, September 24, 1976, respondent again complained that Hotchkiss was not prepared. When the court expressed its confidence in Hotchkiss, respondent said:
The trial judge again stated that he was satisfied that the case had been "well prepared" by Goldfine, and that Hotchkiss had been assigned to the case the previous week, had read the transcript of the preliminary hearing, and had "prepared the case, reviewed all the matters, obtained the pictures, and other items that he intends to produce into evidence." Ibid. In conclusion, the trial judge stated: "I am satisfied . . . that Mr. Hotchkiss is doing a more than adequate job, a very fine job." Id., at 18-19.
When respondent continued to complain that Hotchkiss had not adequately investigated the case, Hotchkiss told the court:
Finally, Hotchkiss pointed out that he would have the weekend between the close of the prosecution's case and the beginning of the defense's case for further conferences with respondent. Id., at 22-23.
At this time — on the second day of the first trial — respondent first mentioned Goldfine's name. After complaining again about Hotchkiss' alleged lack of time for preparation, respondent said: "Mr. Harvey Goldfine was my attorney, he was my attorney, and he still is. I haven't seen him in five
(c) Third Day of First Trial
Trial resumed four days later, on Tuesday, September 28, 1976. Out of the presence of the jury, respondent presented the court with a pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus, claiming that he was unrepresented by counsel. In support of his petition, respondent claimed that Goldfine, not Hotchkiss, was his attorney. Specifically, he said that the writ should be granted on
Hotchkiss disputed this charge. The trial court treated the petition as a renewal of respondent's motion for a continuance, and denied it.
Following the court's ruling, respondent announced that he would not cooperate at all in the trial and asked to be returned to his cell. The court urged respondent to cooperate but respondent refused, claiming that Hotchkiss did not represent him: "I don't have any Counsel, I just got through telling you, I don't have no Counsel." Id., at 32. However, respondent remained in the courtroom and the trial proceeded.
Later, respondent renewed his attack:
Ultimately, respondent refused to take the stand, ignoring Hotchkiss' advice that he testify. The jury returned a verdict of guilty on the robbery, burglary, and false imprisonment counts, but failed to reach a verdict on the rape and oral copulation counts.
(d) Second Trial
A week later, a second trial was held on the charges left unresolved as a result of the mistrial and Hotchkiss again appeared for respondent. Once more, respondent ignored Hotchkiss' advice and refused to take the stand.
The United States District Court for the Northern District of California (Peckham, J.) construed the pro se petition for a writ of habeas corpus liberally as including a claim that the trial court abused its discretion both in denying a continuance to allow Hotchkiss additional time to prepare and in denying a continuance to permit Goldfine to defend respondent. In denying the writ, the District Court stated:
The District Court also rejected respondent's claim that the trial court should have granted the continuance to permit Goldfine to represent respondent, stating that
The District Court thus rejected any claim that the state trial judge had abused his discretion in denying a continuance.
In reversing the District Court's denial of the writ, the Court of Appeals acknowledged that "an indigent defendant does not have an unqualified right to the appointment of counsel of his own choosing," but argued that respondent was not seeking appointment of counsel of his own choosing; rather, he "was merely seeking a continuance of the trial date so that his attorney [Goldfine] would be able to represent him at trial." 649 F. 2d, at 720.
The Court of Appeals went on to announce a new component of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel. The Sixth Amendment right, it held, would
The court seems to have determined, solely on the basis of respondent's confusing and contradictory remarks on the subject, that respondent had developed such a "meaningful attorney-client relationship" with Goldfine but not with Hotchkiss.
Not every restriction on counsel's time or opportunity to investigate or to consult with his client or otherwise to prepare for trial violates a defendant's Sixth Amendment right to counsel. See Chambers v. Maroney, 399 U.S. 42, 53-54 (1970). Trial judges necessarily require a great deal of latitude in scheduling trials. Not the least of their problems is that of assembling the witnesses, lawyers, and jurors at the same place at the same time, and this burden counsels against continuances except for compelling reasons. Consequently, broad discretion must be granted trial courts on matters of continuances; only an unreasoning and arbitrary "insistence upon expeditiousness in the face of a justifiable
We have set out at greater length than usual the record facts showing Hotchkiss' prompt action in taking Goldfine's place, his prompt study of the investigation, his careful review of the materials prepared by Goldfine for trial, his conferences with respondent, and his representation to the court that "a further continuance would not benefit me in presenting the case," App. 11. In the face of the unequivocal and uncontradicted statement by a responsible officer of the court that he was fully prepared and "ready" for trial, it was far from an abuse of discretion to deny a continuance. On this record, it would have been remarkable had the trial court not accepted counsel's assurances.
Nor is there any merit to the claim that the denial of a continuance prevented Hotchkiss from being fully prepared for trial. Despite respondent's adamant — even contumacious — refusal to cooperate with Hotchkiss or to take the stand as Hotchkiss advised, in spite of respondent's numerous outbursts and disruptions, and in the face of overwhelming evidence of guilt, Hotchkiss succeeded in getting a "hung jury" on the two most serious charges at the first trial. Given the undisputed and overwhelming evidence of guilt, the jury's failure at the first trial to convict the defendant on the more serious charges cannot reflect other than favorably on Hotchkiss' readiness for trial.
In holding that the trial judge violated respondent's right to the assistance of counsel by arbitrarily refusing a continuance that would have permitted Goldfine to try the case, the Court of Appeals misread the record and the controlling law and announced a new constitutional standard which is unsupported by any authority.
The Court of Appeals' first error was in reading the record as indicating that respondent timely and in good faith moved
On the contrary, the trial court was abundantly justified in denying respondent's midtrial motion for a continuance so as to have Goldfine represent him. On this record, it could reasonably have concluded that respondent's belated requests to be represented by Goldfine were not made in good faith but were a transparent ploy for delay. In our view, the record shows that the trial judge exhibited sensitive concern for the rights of the accused and extraordinary patience with a contumacious litigant.
The Court of Appeals' conclusion that the Sixth Amendment right to counsel "would be without substance if it did not include the right to a meaningful attorney-client relationship," 649 F. 2d, at 720 (emphasis added), is without basis in the law. No authority was cited for this novel ingredient of the Sixth Amendment guarantee of counsel, and of course none could be. No court could possibly guarantee that a defendant will develop the kind of rapport with his attorney — privately retained or provided by the public — that
We have gone to unusual length in discussing the facts and relevant authorities in order to evaluate the claim of abuse of discretion by the trial judge and to deal with the novel idea that the Sixth Amendment guarantees an accused a "meaningful attorney-client relationship." Had the Court of Appeals examined the record more carefully, it would have had no occasion to consider, let alone announce, a new constitutional rule under the Sixth Amendment.
In its haste to create a novel Sixth Amendment right, the court wholly failed to take into account the interest of the victim of these crimes in not undergoing the ordeal of yet a third trial in this case. Of course, inconvenience and embarrassment to witnesses cannot justify failing to enforce constitutional rights of an accused: when prejudicial error is made that clearly impairs a defendant's constitutional rights, the burden of a new trial must be borne by the prosecution, the courts, and the witnesses; the Constitution permits nothing less. But in the administration of criminal justice, courts may not ignore the concerns of victims. Apart from all other factors, such a course would hardly encourage victims to report violations to the proper authorities; this is especially so when the crime is one calling for public testimony about a humiliating and degrading experience such as was involved here. Precisely what weight should be given to the ordeal of reliving such an experience for the third time need not be decided
Over 75 years ago, Roscoe Pound condemned American courts for ignoring "substantive law and justice," and treating trials as sporting contests in which the "inquiry is, Have the rules of the game been carried out strictly?" Pound, The Causes of Popular Dissatisfaction With the Administration of Justice, 29 ABA Ann. Rep. 395, 406 (1906). A criminal trial is not a "game," and nothing in the record of respondent's two trials gives any support for the conclusion that he was constitutionally entitled to a new trial. The state courts provided respondent a fair trial, and the United States District Judge properly denied relief.
The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and the case is remanded with directions to reinstate the judgment of the District Court.
It is so ordered.
JUSTICE BRENNAN, with whom JUSTICE MARSHALL joins, concurring in the result.
The Court states that "[i]n its haste to create a novel Sixth Amendment right, the [Court of Appeals] wholly failed to take into account the interest of the victim of these crimes in not undergoing the ordeal of yet a third trial in this case." Ante, at 14. Unfortunately, it could just as easily be said of the Court that in its haste to "deal with the novel idea that the Sixth Amendment guarantees an accused a `meaningful attorney-client relationship,' " ibid., the Court reaches issues unnecessary to its judgment, mischaracterizes the Court of Appeals' opinion, and disregards the crucial role of a defendant's right to counsel in our system of criminal justice. For the reasons described below, I concur only in the Court's reversal of the Court of Appeals' judgment.
After reviewing the record of the proceedings in the state trial court, the Court of Appeals concluded that respondent moved for a continuance based on the unavailability of Harvey Goldfine, the Deputy Public Defender originally appointed to represent him. 649 F.2d 718, 719-720 (CA9 1981). The court, therefore, proceeded to consider whether the trial court had denied respondent's Sixth Amendment right to counsel by refusing to grant his motion for a continuance until Goldfine was well enough to represent him at trial. Id., at 720. In considering this question, the Court of Appeals acknowledged that "an indigent defendant does not have an unqualified right to the appointment of counsel of his own choosing." Ibid. The court stated, however, that after a particular attorney is appointed to represent a defendant, the defendant and his attorney develop a relationship that is encompassed by the Sixth Amendment right to counsel. Ibid. In the court's view, the attorney-client relationship is important to a defendant's Sixth Amendment right to counsel because it affects the quality of representation and the defendant's ability to present an effective defense. Id., at 720-721. In this regard, the court noted that unreasonable denials of continuances when a defendant has retained counsel can amount to a denial of the right to counsel or to a violation of due process. Id., at 721. The court saw no reason "to distinguish between appointed and retained counsel in the context of preserving an attorney-client relationship." Ibid.
In light of "the importance of the attorney-client relationship to the substance of the defendant's sixth amendment right to counsel," the court held that "the sixth amendment (as incorporated by the fourteenth amendment) encompasses the right to have the trial judge accord weight to that relationship in determining whether to grant a continuance founded on the temporary unavailability of a defendant's particular attorney." Ibid. The court stated that in considering
The Court of Appeals next concluded that no showing of prejudice was required for reversal of the conviction. Ibid. In reaching this conclusion, the court stated that this case did not involve a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, which it previously had held to require a showing of prejudice to justify reversal. Id., at 722, and n. 4. Instead, the court analogized this case to cases in which counsel is either not provided or in which counsel is prevented from fulfilling normal functions. Id., at 723. In such cases a defendant is not required to demonstrate prejudice. Ibid.
I agree with the Court that the Court of Appeals misread the record in concluding, at least implicitly, that respondent made a timely motion for a continuance based on Goldfine's
Respondent based his initial motion for a continuance on the ground that Hotchkiss had not had enough time to prepare the case. App. 7-13. On the second day of trial, respondent again complained that Hotchkiss had not had enough time to prepare. Id., at 17. For the first time respondent also mentioned Goldfine and stated that Goldfine "was [his] attorney." Id., at 24. Respondent went on to state that he had not seen Goldfine in five weeks because Goldfine was in the hospital. Ibid. Respondent suggested, however, that Goldfine "didn't even have time enough to go over my case with me, he didn't even have time." Ibid. It is clear, therefore, that respondent was basing his inartful motions for a continuance on the inadequate preparation of his appointed counsel. Even construing respondent's statements liberally, as a court should, there is no way the trial judge reasonably could have understood that respondent's motions for a continuance were based on Goldfine's unavailability and on respondent's desire to be represented by him. Based on Hotchkiss' assurances that he was prepared, id., at 10-11; see id., at 21-23, the trial judge clearly did not abuse his discretion in denying a continuance.
On the third day of trial, following an intervening weekend, respondent filed a "Writ of Habeas Corpus" with the trial court. Id., at 28. He stated that the writ was based, in part, on the ground that his attorney was in the hospital and that he did not "legally have [an] attorney." Id., at 29. During his discussion with the trial judge, respondent repeatedly stated that he did not have an attorney and that his attorney
Because respondent did not make a timely motion for a continuance based on Goldfine's unavailability, I concur in the Court's reversal of the Court of Appeals' judgment. We need go no further to support a reversal. The Court recognizes as much when it states that "[t]he facts shown by the record conclusively rebut [respondent's] claims and are alone dispositive, independent of the correctness of the novel Sixth Amendment guarantee announced by the Court of Appeals." Ante, at 4. See also ante, at 14.
Despite the Court's recognition that it is unnecessary to its decision, the Court rejects summarily "the claim that the Sixth Amendment guarantees a `meaningful relationship' between an accused and his counsel." Ibid. (footnote omitted). The Court states simply that the Court of Appeals cited no authority "for this novel ingredient of the Sixth Amendment guarantee of counsel, and of course none could be." Ante, at 13. In the Court's view, "[n]o court could possibly guarantee that a defendant will develop the kind of rapport with his attorney — privately retained or provided by the public — that the Court of Appeals thought part of the Sixth Amendment guarantee of counsel." Ante, at 13-14. This is the extent of the Court's analysis. Properly understood, however, the interest recognized by the Court of Appeals does find
We have recognized repeatedly the central role of the defendant's right to counsel in our criminal justice system. See, e. g., Holloway v. Arkansas, 435 U.S. 475 (1978); Geders v. United States, 425 U.S. 80 (1976); Herring v. New York, 422 U.S. 853 (1975); Argersinger v. Hamlin, 407 U.S. 25 (1972); Gideon v. Wainwright, 372 U.S. 335 (1963); Chandler v. Fretag, 348 U.S. 3 (1954); Glasser v. United States, 315 U.S. 60 (1942); Powell v. Alabama, 287 U.S. 45 (1932). We have described this right as "fundamental," Gideon v. Wainwright, supra, at 344, and have stated that "[t]he assistance of counsel is often a requisite to the very existence of a fair trial." Argersinger v. Hamlin, supra, at 31. In Powell v. Alabama, supra, the Court stated:
Given the importance of counsel to the presentation of an effective defense, it should be obvious that a defendant has
In recognition of the importance of a defendant's relationship with his attorney, appellate courts have found constitutional violations when a trial court has denied a continuance that was sought so that an attorney retained by the defendant could represent him at trial.
In Gandy v. Alabama, 569 F.2d 1318 (CA5 1978), the Court of Appeals found that the defendant had been denied due process when the state trial court denied a continuance and forced the defendant to go to trial with an attorney other than the one he had retained. In the court's view, "the trial was rendered fundamentally unfair when [the defendant] was effectively denied his right to choose his counsel." Id., at 1327. See also Linton v. Perini, 656 F.2d 207, 209-211 (CA6 1981); United States v. Seale, 461 F.2d 345, 356-361 (CA7 1972); Lee v. United States, 98 U. S. App. D. C. 272, 274, 235 F.2d 219, 221 (1956). Cf. United States v. Burton, 189 U. S. App. D. C. 327, 330-334, 584 F.2d 485, 488-492 (1978); Giacalone v. Lucas, 445 F.2d 1238, 1240 (CA6 1971).
Admittedly, the cases discussed above involved retained rather than appointed counsel. This ground of distinction, however, is not sufficient to preclude recognition of an indigent defendant's interest in continued representation by a particular attorney who has been appointed to represent him and with whom the defendant has developed a relationship. Nothing about indigent defendants makes their relationships with their attorneys less important, or less deserving of protection, than those of wealthy defendants. As was stated in a different context in Griffin v. Illinois, 351 U.S. 12 (1956), "[t]here can be no equal justice where the kind of trial a man gets depends on the amount of money he has." Id., at 19
In Smith v. Superior Court, 68 Cal.2d 547, 440 P.2d 65 (1968), the California Supreme Court considered a petition for a writ of mandate to compel the trial court to vacate its order removing the defendant's attorney in a pending murder trial. The court found that the trial court had no power to remove a court-appointed attorney over the objections of the defendant and the attorney even if the decision to remove the attorney was based on doubts about the attorney's competence.
The defendant's interest in preserving his relationship with a particular attorney is not afforded absolute protection. If the attorney is likely to be unavailable for an extended period, or if other factors exist that tip the balance in favor of proceeding in spite of a particular attorney's absence,
After concluding that respondent had been denied his Sixth Amendment right to counsel, the Court of Appeals proceeded to consider whether a showing of prejudice was necessary to support the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus. 649 F. 2d, at 722. The Court of Appeals held that it was not. Ibid.
I find the Court of Appeals' reasoning persuasive. The same conclusion has been reached in other cases in similar contexts. See, e. g., Linton v. Perini, 656 F. 2d, at 211-212; Releford v. United States, 288 F. 2d, at 302; Harling v. United States, 387 A.2d 1101, 1106 (D. C. 1978). If an ineffective-assistance-of-counsel claim were at issue here, I might agree that a showing of prejudice was required. Requiring such a showing to support ineffective-assistance claims may be appropriate because courts are able to assess an attorney's performance and the effect of that performance on a defendant's rights based on the records before them. The courts, therefore, can make reasonable judgments regarding the presence or absence of prejudice. In cases involving claims such as the one at issue here, however, courts cannot make the same judgments. The fact that a defendant has been arbitrarily denied his interest in preserving his relationship with a particular attorney, with the result that the attorney does not appear, means that there is no record on which to base judgments regarding prejudice. We recognized this problem in Holloway v. Arkansas, supra, in the context of joint representation of conflicting interests. We stated:
In this case, there is no way to know whether the character of the proceedings would have changed, whether counsel would have made different decisions, or whether the defense strategy would have been different if Goldfine had represented respondent. Conclusions based on inquiries into such questions would amount to nothing more than "unguided speculation." Under these circumstances, it is reasonable and just not to require a showing of prejudice.
While the Court of Appeals may have misread the record, its opinion reflects a thoughtful and dedicated effort to protect the rights of an indigent criminal defendant. Despite their poverty and the fact that they stand accused of a crime, indigent defendants are entitled to the enforcement of procedural rules that protect substantive rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
JUSTICE BLACKMUN, with whom JUSTICE STEVENS joins, concurring in the judgment.
The narrow question before the Court is whether the state trial judge should have inquired about the probable length of attorney Goldfine's incapacitation in order to balance respondent's right to counsel against society's interest in the prompt and efficient administration of justice. I agree with the Court that the Court of Appeals erred in construing respondent's complaints on the first day of trial as indicating a desire to be represented by Goldfine. Absent a timely request by respondent to postpone the trial until Goldfine recovered from his illness, the state trial judge had no reason to inquire into the likely length of Goldfine's unavailability. For this reason, I concur in the Court's reversal of the judgment of the Court of Appeals.
I also agree with the Court that, "[h]ad the Court of Appeals examined the record more carefully, it would have had no occasion to consider, let alone announce, a new constitutional rule under the Sixth Amendment." Ante, at 14. It seems to me, however, that this Court, after examining the record carefully and finding it "dispositive," ante, at 4, similarly has "no occasion to consider" the Sixth Amendment issue. Accordingly, I find the Court's rather broad-ranging dicta about the right to counsel and the concerns of victims (deserving of sympathy as they may be) to be unnecessary in this case.
In Linton v. Perini, 656 F.2d 207 (CA6 1981), the court stated that "[b]asic trust between counsel and defendant is the cornerstone of the adversary system and effective assistance of counsel." Id., at 212. Similarly, in Lee v. United States, 98 U. S. App. D. C. 272, 235 F.2d 219 (1956), the court stated that " `[t]he relationship between attorney and client is highly confidential, demanding personal faith and confidence in order that they may work together harmoniously.' " Id., at 274, n. 5, 235 F. 2d, at 221, n. 5 (citation omitted).
I would qualify the Court of Appeals' analysis in one respect. If a State could show that a defendant's attorney would have been unavailable for an extended period or that other factors existed which would have made denial of a continuance reasonable, then a trial court's failure to inquire into the length of the attorney's expected unavailability and to engage in the necessary balancing would be rendered harmless. Under these circumstances, relief should not be granted. It would no longer be reasonable to assume that the defendant had been prejudiced.