Cain v. State, 89-1078

CourtCourt of Appeal of Florida (US)
Citation565 So.2d 875
Docket NumberNo. 89-1078,89-1078
Parties15 Fla. L. Weekly D2108 Walter Eugene CAIN, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee.
Decision Date16 August 1990

James B. Gibson, Public Defender, and Michael S. Becker, Asst. Public Defender, Daytona Beach, for appellant.

Robert A. Butterworth, Atty. Gen., Tallahassee, and Sean Daly, Asst. Atty. Gen., Daytona Beach, for appellee.

HARRIS, Judge.

Walter Cain appeals his conviction for possession of cocaine. He contends that the trial court denied him his right to counsel. 1 We affirm.

This case illustrates an interesting dilemma that sometimes confronts trial judges. After an unusual and lengthy jury selection process during which defense counsel continually asked for Cain's input, Cain and his attorney could not agree on the final selection of jurors. Finally the court intervened:

[I]t would appear to the court that you've given your client your best judgment, your best advise [sic]. And I believe the client does have the final word in these matters.

* * * * * *

[A]fter a lawyer has given his client his best advise [sic], the client will have to make the final decision.

* * * * * *

Well, I'd ask not--ask you not to contend with him any further. Let him make the decision. And we'll accept his decision.

Cain chose his jury and was convicted. On appeal, Cain relies on certain cases that hold that one cannot be represented by counsel and also represent himself. Dickey v. McNeal, 445 So.2d 692 (Fla. 5th DCA 1984); Sheppard v. State, 391 So.2d 346 (Fla. 5th DCA 1980); Smith v. State, 444 So.2d 542 (Fla. 1st DCA 1984).

But this is not a case of who is representing Cain--clearly the lawyer is--but who gets to make the final decision when the lawyer and the client disagree on how to conduct the trial.

The lawyer's function is to present alternative courses of action, not make decisions in contravention to his client's wishes. Milligan v. State, 177 So.2d 75 (Fla. 2nd DCA 1965). In cases where the attorney and the defendant disagree as to trial strategy, the defendant must make the ultimate decision. Blanco v. State, 452 So.2d 520 (Fla.1984).

Finding no error, we AFFIRM.

DAUKSCH and COWART, JJ., concur.

1 We find Cain's other issue on appeal to be without merit.

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2 cases
  • Puglisi v. State, SC11–768.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Florida
    • April 11, 2013
    ...DCA 2010), on the ground that it expressly and directly conflicts with a decision of the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Cain v. State, 565 So.2d 875 (Fla. 5th DCA 1990), on a question of law. The Fourth District subsequently certified conflict with the Fifth District's decision in Cain. ......
  • PUGLISI v. State of Fla., 4D08-3056
    • United States
    • Court of Appeal of Florida (US)
    • March 30, 2011
    ...2010 WL 5173843 (Fla. 4th DCA Dec. 22, 2010), conflicts with the opinion of the Fifth District Court of Appeal in Cain v. State, 565 So. 2d 875 (Fla. 5th DCA 1990), we certify conflict to the Supreme Court of Florida. Warner and Polen, JJ., concur.1 * * * Appeal from the Circuit Court for t......

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