Published on: Tuesday, July 20, 2021

The week before his state capital trial, Pennsylvania man hired a lawyer to replace his court-appointed lawyer. Once hired, new counsel entered his appearance and asked the court to delay the trial until the following month. Trial court: no. Lawyer requests trial delay by just a couple of days. Trial court: no. Lawyer: please delay trial for three hours because of a prior engagement. Trial court: third time is not a charm; no. New lawyer does not appear on morning of trial, man makes a motion to continue, trial court denies it and trial proceeds with the court-appointed lawyer. Jury convicts and trial court sentenced man to death. Federal district court on habeas review: Sixth amendment violation, conviction vacated. Third Circuit: Totally agree. New trial.

The case is Randolph v. Sec’y of Pa. Dep’t of Corrs. , No. 20-9003 (3d Cir. July 20, 2021).