FROM THE ARKANSAS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, NORTHERN DISTRICT
[NO. 01CR-15-131] HONORABLE DAVID G. HENRY, JUDGE
Mylissa M. Blankenship, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Brooke Jackson Gasaway,
Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.
PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, Judge
Christopher Brewer was convicted following a bench trial in
the Arkansas County Circuit Court of one count of commercial
burglary, one count of theft of property, one count of
possession of drug paraphernalia with intent to manufacture
methamphetamine, five counts of theft by receiving, and one
count of possession of firearms by certain persons. He was
sentenced to an aggregate thirty-five years in the Arkansas
Department of Correction. His sole argument on appeal is that
the circuit court erroneously deprived him of his right to
counsel of his choosing. For the reasons set forth below, we
disagree and affirm.
the criminal information had been filed in this case, the
circuit court entered an order on October 6, 2015, appointing
public defender Dennis Molock to represent Brewer. Trial was
then scheduled for December 17, 2015. A week before the trial
date, Molock filed a motion for continuance in which he
asserted that he had developed a conflict with the case and
intended to assign the matter to another public defender. As
a consequence, Molock asked that the matter be removed from
the December 17 trial docket and set for a jury trial at a
later date. The court approved the motion, and the case was
assigned to public defender Tim Blair. On March 10, 2016,
Brewer appeared in court with Blair and asked to waive a jury
trial. The court granted the request and reset the case for a
bench trial on May 3, 2016.
morning that the case was set for trial, the following
exchange occurred between Brewer's attorney and the
Court: [I]s the defense ready, Mr. Blair?
Blair: Judge, we're ready to go forward. Mr. Brewer has
for-asked me to ask the court-he's asking for time to
hire a private attorney. He tells me he's had an
opportunity to either-he's come into some money at this
point and would like to do that.
Court: That request will be denied. This case has been set
now for-well, it was set for March 10th for jury trial and
the defendant waived jury trial, and the case is now set to
be tried this morning as a bench trial. The case has been set
for almost two months now, and I'm going to deny any
request for any further delay.
then advised the court that Brewer wished to "undo"
his waiver of his jury-trial right and proceed to trial with
a jury. The circuit court likewise denied that request,
stating as follows:
Mr.-Mr. Brewer, based on your motions that have been made
today-one to retain private counsel, and one to withdrawal
[sic] your waiver of jury trial-I believe that by
your actions you are gaming the system and I'm not going
to allow that. To grant your motion today would be-would be
to cause an inconvenience to the court, to the witnesses who
have been subpoenaed, and to the administration of justice.
Your motion is denied.
case proceeded to trial, and the circuit court convicted
Brewer of the offenses set forth above.
argues on appeal that the circuit court's ruling violated
his Sixth Amendment right to counsel of his choice.
Brewer's right to counsel of choice is constitutionally
guaranteed, but the right to counsel of one's choosing is
not absolute. A defendant may not use his or her right to
counsel to frustrate the inherent power of the court to
command an orderly, efficient, and effective administration
of justice. Thomas ...