US v. Omar Baskerville, No. 12-4446 (4th Cir. 2013)

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UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 12-4446 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee, v. OMAR SHAHEED BASKERVILLE, a/k/a O, a/k/a Omar Dunson, a/k/a Omar Shahid Baskerville, a/k/a Jerrell Jones, Defendant - Appellant. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, at Alexandria. Gerald Bruce Lee, District Judge. (1:12-cr-00036-GBL-1) Submitted: March 8, 2013 Decided: March 13, 2013 Before WILKINSON, KING, and AGEE, Circuit Judges. Affirmed by unpublished per curiam opinion. Cordell A. Hull, PATTON BOGGS LLP, Washington, D.C., for Appellant. Neil H. MacBride, United States Attorney, Scott I. Fitzgerald, Special Assistant United States Attorney, Alexandria, Virginia, for Appellee. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. PER CURIAM: Omar plea Shaheed agreement violation of 21 to Baskerville one U.S.C. count of § 841(a)(1) pled guilty distributing (2006); and pursuant to oxycodone, one count a in of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A) (2006). Baskerville s sole argument is that the district court erred when it denied his request for new counsel. Finding no reversible error, we affirm. We review a district court s ruling on a motion to substitute counsel for abuse of discretion. United States v. Horton, 693 F.3d 463, 466 (4th Cir. 2012). While a criminal defendant has a right to counsel of his own choosing, that right is not absolute. Powell v. Alabama, 287 U.S. 45, 52-53 (1932); Sampley v. Attorney Gen. of N.C., 786 F.2d 610, 612 (4th Cir. 1986). In particular, a defendant s right to choose his own counsel is limited so as not to deprive courts of the exercise of their justice. inherent power to control the administration of United States v. Gallop, 838 F.2d 105, 108 (4th Cir. 1988); see United States v. Gonzalez-Lopez, 548 U.S. 140, 152 (2006) ( [A] trial court[] [has] wide latitude in balancing the right to counsel of choice against the needs of fairness and against demands of its calendar[.] ) omitted). 2 (internal citations A after the defendant s court s right initial to receive appointment is substitute counsel similarly limited. Thus, a defendant must show good cause as to why he should receive substitute counsel. Gallop, 838 F.2d at 108. In general, good cause exists when denying substitute counsel would deny the defendant a constitutionally adequate defense. United States v. Johnson, 114 F.3d 435, 443 (4th Cir. 1997) ( A total lack of communication is not required. whether the extent of the breakdown Rather an examination of prevents the ability to conduct an adequate defense is the necessary inquiry. ); United States v. Mullen, 32 F.3d 891, 897 (4th Cir. 1994). A district court has substitution of counsel is proper. discretion to decide whether Gallop, 838 F.2d at 108. In making its decision, the district court must consider both the defendant s reason for seeking substitution and the government s interest in proceeding without a continuance. Morris v. Slappy, 461 U.S. 1, 11-12 (1983); United States v. Reevey, 364 F.3d 151, 157 (4th Cir. 2004). In reviewing the district court s decision on a motion for substitution, this court looks at three factors: the [t]imeliness of the motion; [the] adequacy of the court s inquiry into the defendant s complaint; and whether the attorney/client conflict was so great that it had resulted in total lack of communication Gallop, 838 F.2d at 108. preventing an adequate defense. With these principles in mind, we have 3 reviewed the record and have considered the parties arguments and discern no reversible error. Accordingly, we affirm the district court s judgment. We dispense with oral argument because the facts and legal contentions are adequately presented in the materials before the court and argument would not aid the decisional process. AFFIRMED 4