Gambrill v. StateAnnotate this Case
Defendant was charged with misuse of telephone facilities and harassment. Prior to the start of trial, Defendant’s public defender informed the court: “Your Honor, on behalf of [Defendant], I’d request a postponement. He indicates that he would like to hire private counsel in this matter.” The trial judge denied postponement, and, after a trial, Defendant was convicted as charged. Defendant appealed, arguing that reversal was required because the trial court denied his request to obtain private counsel without complying with the requirements of Md. R. Crim. P. 4-215(e). The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that Defendant did not express a “clear intent” to discharge or replace his attorney, and therefore, Rule 4-215(e) was not implicated. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding (1) when an ambiguous statement by a defendant or his or her counsel is made under Rule 4-215(e), the trial judge must engage in a Rule 4-215(e) colloquy with the defendant; and (2) in this case, the trial judge could have reasonably concluded from defense counsel’s statements that Defendant wanted to discharge his attorney and thus had a duty to engage in a Rule 4-215(e) colloquy with Defendant.