PEOPLE v. TORRES

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Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, New York.

The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent, v. Phillip TORRES, Defendant-Appellant.

Decided: March 31, 2009

GONZALEZ, P.J., TOM, SWEENY, CATTERSON, RENWICK, JJ. Steven Banks, The Legal Aid Society, New York (Kristina Schwarz of counsel), for appellant. Robert M. Morgenthau, District Attorney, New York (Sheila L. Bautista of counsel), for respondent.

Judgment, Supreme Court, New York County (Carol Berkman, J.), rendered April 26, 2006, convicting defendant, upon his plea of guilty, of criminal possession of a forged instrument in the second degree (11 counts), and sentencing him to concurrent terms of 2 1/212 to 7 years, unanimously affirmed.

The court properly exercised its discretion when it denied defendant's eve-of-trial request for an adjournment to obtain new retained counsel, since defendant did not establish compelling circumstances, or any legitimate basis for the substitution (see People v. Arroyave, 49 N.Y.2d 264, 271, 425 N.Y.S.2d 282, 401 N.E.2d 393 [1980] ).   There is nothing to indicate that his attorney's difficulties in collecting her full fee from defendant created an adversarial relationship or affected her representation of defendant (see People v. Husbands, 303 A.D.2d 227, 756 N.Y.S.2d 553 [2003], lv. denied 100 N.Y.2d 562, 763 N.Y.S.2d 819, 795 N.E.2d 45 [2003] ).   Furthermore, although the proposed substitute attorney had contacted the court shortly before trial and had been advised by the court to appear on the trial date ready to proceed, he never appeared.

We perceive no basis for reducing the sentence.