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Hankins v. State

Supreme Court of Wyoming

October 9, 2013

Robert Steven HANKINS, Appellant (Defendant),
v.
The STATE of Wyoming, Appellee (Plaintiff).

Page 897

Representing Appellant: Anthony C. Gold, Law Office of Anthony C. Gold, Laramie, Wyoming.

Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Interim Attorney General; David L. Delicath, Deputy Attorney General; Jeffrey S. Pope, Assistant Attorney General; Brian J. Fuller, Student Intern.

Before KITE, C.J., and HILL, VOIGT, BURKE, and DAVIS, JJ.

BURKE, Justice.

[¶ 1] Mr. Hankins appeals his convictions on charges of burglary and attempted sexual assault. He claims that the district court infringed on his constitutional right to be represented by counsel of his choice. We will affirm.

ISSUE

[¶ 2] The issue in this appeal is whether Mr. Hankins was denied a fair opportunity to secure counsel of his own choice.

FACTS

[¶ 3] In February, 2011, Mr. Hankins was charged with burglary and attempted sexual assault. He engaged an attorney to defend him. Trial was scheduled to begin on September 7, 2011. In July, 2011, Mr. Hankins' counsel was severely injured in a motorcycle accident, and was unable to continue representing Mr. Hankins. At the request of the State, the district court convened a status conference on August 2, 2011, to assess the situation.

[¶ 4] Because this status conference is at the heart of this case, we set forth in full the discussion between the district court and Mr. Hankins:

THE COURT: All right. So, Mr. Hankins, here's where things stand right now. We have trial set on September the 7th, just over a month from today. We have pretrial motions pending that need to be resolved within the next two weeks, at least; sooner, if possible. And I know you've known about this situation, at least for a while.
You have three options at this point. You can either submit an affidavit to the Court— a financial affidavit and request assignment of a public defender, which assuming you qualify, I will be happy to do.
You can go find another attorney for yourself, if that's what you ...

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