People v. Zahangir, 2020-434 OR CR

CourtNew York Supreme Court — Appellate Term
Citation73 Misc.3d 138 (A),155 N.Y.S.3d 527 (Table)
Decision Date18 November 2021
Parties The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent, v. Tobin ZAHANGIR, Appellant.
Docket Number2020-434 OR CR

73 Misc.3d 138 (A)
155 N.Y.S.3d 527 (Table)

The PEOPLE of the State of New York, Respondent,
Tobin ZAHANGIR, Appellant.

2020-434 OR CR

Supreme Court, Appellate Term, New York, Second Dept., 9 & 10 Jud. Dist.

Decided on November 18, 2021

John R. Lewis, for appellant.

Orange County District Attorney (Andrew R. Kass of counsel), for respondent.


ORDERED that the judgments of conviction are reversed, on the law, and the matters are remitted to the City Court for a new trial.

In May 2019, defendant was issued several simplified traffic informations, including ones charging defendant with driving while intoxicated per se ( Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192 [2] ), common-law driving while intoxicated ( Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1192 [3] ), and disobeying a traffic control device ( Vehicle and Traffic Law § 1110 [a] ). Following a jury trial, defendant was convicted of the three aforementioned charges, and sentences were imposed. The sole contention defendant raises on appeal is that his constitutional and statutory rights to counsel were violated because the City Court denied his request for assigned counsel.

A review of the record indicates that, when defendant was arraigned on July 1, 2019, he was not represented by counsel and the case was adjourned numerous times so that he could obtain counsel. In August 2019, defendant informed the City Court that he wanted a "public defender" and, later that same day, a Legal Aid attorney appeared on behalf of defendant. In September 2019, the court informed defendant that it had received a letter from Legal Aid stating that defendant was not financially eligible for Legal Aid services. The court then asked defendant if he was going to hire an attorney or represent himself. Defendant replied that he would hire an attorney, and the case was adjourned. On October 17, 2019, the court asked defendant if he had contacted an attorney and defendant replied that he could not afford an attorney. The court then asked defendant if he worked, and defendant replied, "Yeah ... I work part time. I don't make that much." Defendant also...

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