United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM ORDER REGARDING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR
NEW COUNSEL AND MOTION TO ADJOURN TRIAL
F. Cox United States District Court Judge
jury indicted Defendant Adam Dean Brown on five drug charges:
(1) conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to
distribute a controlled substance (death resulting) (Count
I); (2) possession with intent to distribute a controlled
substance (Count III); (3) possession with intent to
distribute a controlled substance (Count IV); (4)
distribution of a controlled substance (death resulting)
(Count V); (5) distribution of a controlled substance
(serious bodily injury resulting) (Count VI) (ECF No. 20).
January 29, 2018, the Court appointed attorney Craig A. Daly
to represent Brown. Daly quickly filed a request for
discovery, (ECF No. 13), and successfully moved the Court to
appoint various professionals to aid in Brown's defense.
(ECF No. 15 and 18).
30, 2018, Daly filed a motion to suppress, arguing that
Brown's traffic stop and the seizure of his phone were
invalid, and that Brown did not voluntarily waive his
Miranda rights or consent to a search of his phone.
(ECF No. 22). On July 18, 2018, the Court held a two-day
evidentiary hearing on the motion to suppress. On the first
day, Brown testified on his own behalf, and City of Westland
police officer Adam Tardif testified for the Government. Daly
vigorously cross examined Tardif. (ECF No. 45, PageID
282-293, 296-298). The Court ultimately denied the motion to
suppress. (ECF No. 51).
denial of the motion to suppress, Daly continued to
successfully move the Court for resources and discovery to
aid Brown's defense. (ECF Nos. 65, 66, 71, 77). At the
final pre-trial conference, the Government stated that it and
Daly had negotiated two plea agreements to that point. Brown
affirmed his knowledge and rejection of these offers, on the
record. The Court set trial for August 20, 2019.
advance of trial, Daly filed four motions in limine
on Brown's behalf. (ECF No. 80, 81, 82, 103). He also
opposed the Government's two motions in lime.
(ECF No. 95, 96). The Court accepted some of Daly's
arguments when ruling on these motions. (ECF No. 122).
trial approached, Daly continued to successfully move the
Court for resources to aid in Brown's defense, including
expert appointments and writs of habeas corpus ad
testificandum for defense witnesses. (ECF No. 109, 110).
Daly also negotiated another plea offer from the Government,
which Brown rejected, on the record, on August 8, 2019.
August 6, 2019 - twenty months after Daly began representing
Brown, and two weeks before trial is set to begin - Brown
filed a pro se motion to remove Daly as his
attorney. (ECF No. 124). Brown contends that there has a been
a “breakdown in communication, bona-fide conflict of
interest, and irreconcilable differences.” Brown states
that Daly “did not follow my request as it relates to
ignoring my request for input into my defense and not
pursuing exculpatory ‘Brady' materials from the
government in a timely fashion in order to defend
properly.” Brown “believes that [his] attorney
has blatantly misrepresented case facts about investigating
certain very critical issues within my defense to me.”
Brown has also “repeatedly insisted that Mr. Daly
obtain our own specialists to analyze medical data and
historical phone data.” Brown also informed the Court
that he would be “filing a complaint with the Attorney
Grievance Commission.” (ECF No. 123, PageID 945).
August 8, 2019, the Court held an extensive hearing on
Brown's motion for a new attorney. Brown testified
extensively at this hearing. The Court also heard from Daly
and the Government. At this hearing, it became clear that
Brown's main concerns were (1) his perception that Daly
had not sought Brady material aggressively enough,
(2) that a disagreement regarding the third plea offer had
devolved into a conflict of interest, and (3) that he did not
have enough time to put on a sufficient defense. Brown also
informed the Court that he had not, in fact, filed a
complaint against Daly with the Attorney Grievance
end of the hearing, the Court asked Brown if he wanted Daly
to withdraw. Brown answered “No.” Brown then
requested an adjournment of the trial date.
Motion for New Counsel
disposition of a criminal defendant's motion for a new
attorney is left to the Court's discretion. See
United States v. Price, 761 Fed.App'x 568, 572 (6th
Cir. 2019) (“We review the denial of these motions for
abuse of discretion.”). On appeal, the Sixth Circuit
will consider: “ (1) the timeliness of the motion, (2)
the adequacy of the [district] court's inquiry into the
matter, (3) the extent of the conflict between the attorney
and client and whether it was so great that it resulted in a
total lack of communication preventing an adequate defense,
and (4) the balancing of these factors with the public's
interest in the prompt and efficient administration of
justice.” Id. (quoting United
States v. Mack, 258 F.3d 548, 555-56 (6th Cir.
2001)). “[W]hen the granting of the defendant's
request would almost certainly necessitate a last-minute
continuance, the trial judge's actions are entitled to
extraordinary deference.” United States v.
Vasquez, 560 F.3d 461, 467 (6th Cir. 2009) (alteration
in original) (citation omitted).
This motion comes fourteen days before trial, which supports
its denial. See United States v. Chambers, 441 F.3d
438, 447 (6th Cir. 2006) (finding that the timing factor did
not support a claim that the district court abused its
discretion when the defendant's request came
approximately one and a half months before trial); United
States v. Watson, 620 Fed.Appx. 493, 501 (6th Cir. 2015)
(same when nineteen days); United States v.
Fonville, 422 Fed.Appx. 473, 480 (6th Cir. 2011) (same
when twenty-two days). ...