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Bentz v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, Fourth District

July 25, 2018

TERRY LEE BENTZ, JR., Appellant,
v.
STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit, Martin County; Lawrence Michael Mirman, Judge; L.T. Case No. 432017CF000034B.

          Carey Haughwout, Public Defender, and Ian Seldin, Assistant Public Defender, West Palm Beach, for appellant.

          Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Marc B. Hernandez, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for appellee.

          MAY, J.

         The defendant appeals his conviction of (1) possession of hydromorphone and (2) possession of drug paraphernalia. He argues the trial court abused its discretion by failing to question him about the circumstances surrounding his request for private counsel and failing to make requisite findings supporting the denial of his request. We disagree and affirm.

         The State charged the defendant with possession of hydromorphone and possession of drug paraphernalia. At his first hearing, he was appointed a public defender, waived speedy trial, and moved for a continuance. The court granted the motion, and two subsequent defense motions for continuance.

         The matter proceeded to trial. Just before jury selection, defense counsel announced he was ready for trial, but advised the court that the defendant "indicated to me this morning that he wished to hire private counsel, uh, so that's-that's where we stand. But I am ready if necessary." Defense counsel told the court that he knew the defendant "wanted to hire private counsel."

THE DEFENDANT: Your Honor, I just wanted a new fresh set of eyes to look at my situation that I have.
THE COURT: Your case is 217 days old, that's the problem.
THE DEFENDANT: I spoke to a couple of attorneys over the last couple of weeks -
THE COURT: Yeah.
THE DEFENDANT: And they said that they would do their best to get in and get everything taken care of as rapidly as possible. They said that -
THE COURT: The Florida Supreme Court on felonies still has it in their mind that I'm supposed to resolve all of them within six months and you're beyond that, so you're well beyond where the case should be at this time, so we're ready to try the case. We'll be picking a jury this morning and trying the case tomorrow. All right, ...

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