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Motion for Transfer to Drug Program Granted On Appeal

15
Nov
2010

by in Drug Defense

State v. Robert Covington, unpublished opinion, App. Div. Docket No. A-2644-08T4 (July 23, 2010) – Denial of motion for transfer to drug program pursuant to R. 3:21-10(b)(1) reversed, case remanded for new hearing. “With respect to the only issue raised on appeal, we note that the record before us reveals no clear request by defendant for the assignment of counsel at any time during the proceedings we have recounted. Nevertheless, it seems clear that, at various points in the proceedings, the motion judge announced a sense that defendant and the process would be benefited if he were represented by counsel. In any event, at the time this matter was considered in the trial court, no express authorization existed for assigning counsel to a defendant moving for Rule 3:21-10 relief. Since then, effective September 1, 2009, the Rule has been amended to [provide for assignment of such cases to the Public Defender]…. The McKinney [140 N.J. Super. 160 (App. Div. 1976)] requirements, while easily stated, can be circumstantially intricate to apply, as this case demonstrates. We take no issue with the motion judge’s announced understanding of the standards governing applications of this type or with his statement outlining the scope of his discretion. We also respect the judge’s articulated sense that both defendant and the process would be assisted if an attorney were available to counsel defendant, develop and refine the arguments to be advanced on his behalf, and bring to this conceptually and circumstantially complex matter the mature insights and arts of persuasion that the subject matter and defendant’s particulars require.”

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