United States v. Barton, No. 12-1116 (2d Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
Robert G. Smith, an Assistant Federal Defender for the Western District of New York, moved to withdraw from representing defendant in a criminal action pending in the district court. In this interlocutory appeal, Smith challenged the denial of his motion. The court did not reach the merits of Smith's argument based on his professional responsibility as an attorney because the court concluded on other grounds that the denial of the motion exceeded the limits of the district court's discretion. Defendant, having been informed of his right to counsel, stated that he did not wish to have appointed counsel, made no attempt to establish financial eligibility for appointed counsel under the Criminal Justice Act of 1964 (CJA), 18 U.S.C. 3006A, and refused to recognize Smith as his attorney. Under these circumstances, Smith's appointment was improper from the outset, and he could not be required to continue serving as defendant's attorney.