In assigning defense counsel in felony cases, whether it is the public defender or private counsel, the court shall only assign counsel who represents, on the record, that he or she will be ready to proceed with the preliminary hearing or trial, as the case may be, within the time provisions prescribed in this code for preliminary hearings and trials, except in those unusual cases where the court finds that, due to the nature of the case, counsel cannot reasonably be expected to be ready within the presecribed period if he or she were to begin preparing the case forthwith and continue to make diligent and constant efforts to be ready. In the case where the time of preparation for preliminary hearing or trial is deemed greater than the statutory time, the court shall set a reasonable time period for preparation. In making this determination, the court shall not consider counsel’s convenience, counsel’s calendar conflicts, or counsel’s other business. The court may allow counsel a reasonable time to become familiar with the case in order to determine whether he or she can be ready. In cases where counsel, after making representations that he or she will be ready for preliminary examination or trial, and without good cause is not ready on the date set, the court may relieve counsel from the case and may impose sanctions upon counsel, including, but not limited to, finding the assigned counsel in contempt of court, imposing a fine, or denying any public funds as compensation for counsel’s services. Both the prosecuting attorney and defense counsel shall have a right to present evidence and argument as to a reasonable length of time for preparation and on any reasons why counsel could not be prepared in the set time.
(Added June 5, 1990, by initiative Proposition 115, Sec. 20.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018