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Case Name: Fernandez v. State
Citation: 2007 WY 198
Docket Number: S-07-0120
Appeal from the
Representing Appellant (Defendant): Diane M. Lozano,
Representing Appellee (Plaintiff): Bruce A. Salzburg, Wyoming Attorney General; Terry L. Armitage, Deputy Attorney General; D. Michael Pauling, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Cathleen D. Parker, Senior Assistant Attorney General. Argument by Ms. Parker.
Facts/Discussion: Appellant appeals the judgment and sentence of the trial court after a jury found him guilty of two counts of aiding and abetting the crime of burglary and one count of conspiracy to commit burglary, contending that the trial court committed judicial misconduct when it repeatedly instructed defense counsel on time management and created an atmosphere during the trial which negatively impacted defense of his client and interfered with the attorney-client relationship.
Standard of Review: The Court has adopted an abuse of discretion standard in reviewing claims of judicial misconduct. The Court’s role on appeal is to determine whether the judge’s behavior was so prejudicial that it denied a defendant a fair trial. The defendant must show that the remarks were prejudicial and that he was harmed thereby.
The Court carefully read the record and considered the trial court’s remarks and did not find those remarks were calculated to belittle or disparage defense counsel or to create the impression to the jury that the defense was without merit so as to deprive Appellant of a fair and impartial trial.
After reviewing the trial court’s remarks, the Court agreed with the State that the record was clear that the comment in question was not uttered during defense counsel’s voir dire and could not reasonably be construed to have been directed at defense counsel.
Appellant challenged the propriety of the trial court’s hearing concerning defense counsel’s effective representation. His assertion was not sufficient to demonstrate the alleged interference.
Holding: The Court held the trial court did not err in any of the time management particulars alleged by Appellant. The Court held that the trial court did not commit judicial misconduct as contended and affirmed the trial court’s judgment and sentence. The Court held the trial court did not err in conducting the hearing in the instant case.
J. Golden delivered the opinion.
Link: http://tinyurl.com/254ncv .