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United States v. Prince

June 19, 1970

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,
v.
RONALD PRINCE, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Swygert, Chief Judge, Duffy, Senior Circuit Judge and Fairchild, Circuit Judge.

Author: Duffy

DUFFY, Senior Circuit Judge:

Defendant, Ronald Prince, was indicted on February 23, 1966, for two violations of the Dyer Act. Count I charged that defendant transported in interstate commerce, a motor vehicle knowing that same had been stolen (18 U.S.C. § 2312). Count II charged that defendant received and concealed a stolen motor vehicle which was moving in interstate commerce knowing that such vehicle had been stolen (18 U.S.C. § 2313).

On March 1, 1966, defendant was arraigned and entered a plea of not guilty to each of the two counts. Defendant was represented by his court-appointed counsel, Mr. Joseph Cohn. Thereafter, upon motion by the defendant, the trial date was continued from March 14, 1966 to April 27, 1966. Defendant's counsel filed a Motion to Suppress which was denied.

On April 27, 1966, the defendant requested and received another continuance, this time to May 4, 1966, on the ground that his principal witness was ill.

On May 4, 1966, the case was called for trial. Mr. Saul Cohn appeared and announced that his brother, Joseph Cohn, was engaged in the trial of a lawsuit in another city; that it was an important Jones Act case and that they were anticipating a verdict in excess of $100,000. It appeared that Saul Cohn was a member of the law firm headed by his brother, Joseph.

Requests were made for a further continuance, but the trial court denied such requests. It appeared that Joseph Cohn had intended to represent the defendant and had made preparations therefor. Saul Cohn had only several hours of preparation for this trial.

On the morning of the trial, but prior to the opening statements of counsel, and outside the presence of the jury, there was an extended conference between the Court and the defendant and Attorney Saul Cohn.

Although the defendant at first seemed to be reluctant to be represented by Saul Cohn, the following are extracts of the conversation between the defendant and the trial judge:

"Deft. Prince: I will take Mr. Cohn.

The Court: Now, are you sure that is what you want?

Deft. Prince: Yes, sir.

The Court: Now, are you going to complain about ...


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