State v. Alvarado
While counsel should not actively oppose a client's motion for dismissal, representations that may not be supportive of a defendant's quest to withdraw a guilty plea do not inevitably evince a conflict of interest where the record otherwise provides no basis for granting a motion to dismiss counsel. Jose Alvarado pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree. The trial court denied his later motion to withdraw his plea and appoint substitute counsel. Alvarado appealed. The Appellate Court affirmed the judgment. The defendant claimed, first, that his motion to withdraw his plea should have been granted because his plea was not knowing and voluntary due to various factors including inadequate time to consider the state's offer and an inadequate understanding of the law and English language. The panel was unpersuaded. The trial court found that the defendant had ample time to consider, while the case was pending, whether to go to trial or resolve his case and counsel discussed the possibility of the plea in August, 2010 and the specifics of the pending plea on Sept. 12, 2010 before his plea on Sept. 14, 2010. The record was devoid of any support for the defendant's claim that he was too unfamiliar with the law or language or that he was too confused or emotionally upset to knowingly and voluntarily plead guilty. He contended that the court should have ordered a competency examination before accepting his plea but the transcript revealed no comments by the defendant that should have raised a competency issue. The defendant also unsuccessfully claimed that counsel should have been dismissed because he was burdened by an actual conflict. Defense counsel made factual representations to the court during the hearing on the motion to withdraw the plea regarding the timing and extent of his discussions with the defendant which did not support the defendant's claims of inadequate time and information. However, counsel's representations did not, in fact, contradict the defendant's factual claims. Absent any basis in the record to support the motion to withdraw the plea, the mere fact that counsel made factual representations that did not support the defendant's quest to withdraw his plea did not lead to the conclusion that counsel should have been dismissed.