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People v. Gilbert.

2022 CO 23. No. 20S853. Motion for Continuance—Sixth Amendment—Counsel of Choice.

May 31, 2022

The Supreme Court clarified that a trial court need not make explicit findings as to each and every factor under People v. Brown, 2014 CO 25, when ruling on a defendant’s motion for a continuance to change counsel and that, where the record is adequately developed, an appellate court may review the trial court’s denial of a motion to continue under the relevant Brown factors rather than remand the case for the trial court to make more express findings under Brown.

Here, the Court concluded that the district court erred by requiring defendant to establish good cause before discharging his retained counsel, contrary to Ronquillo v. People, 2017 CO 99, ¶ 4. Because defendant sought to replace his retained counsel with new retained counsel, the Court reviewed the Brown factors based on the existing record and concluded that the district court abused its discretion in denying defendant’s motion for a continuance and, in so doing, violated his Sixth Amendment right to counsel of choice.

The Court therefore affirmed the Court of Appeals’ judgment in part, albeit on different grounds.

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