The Fourth Department, over a two-justice dissent, determined the selection of a juror by the defendant, a selection with which defense counsel apparently disagreed, deprived defendant of his right to counsel:
“It is well established that a defendant, having accepted the assistance of counsel, retains authority only over certain fundamental decisions regarding the case such as whether to plead guilty, waive a jury trial, testify in his or her own behalf or take an appeal” … . “The selection of particular jurors falls within the category of tactical decisions entrusted to counsel, and defendants do not retain a personal veto power over counsel’s exercise of professional judgments” … .
Here, during the part of the jury selection process when the attorneys were exercising peremptory challenges, defense counsel stated “[f]or the record, my client is insisting over my objection to keep juror number 21. So, jurors 20 and 21 will be on the jury.” We agree with defendant that, contrary to the People’s contention, defense counsel “never acceded’ or acquies[ed]’ to defendant’s decision” … . … Consequently, the court denied defendant the “expert judgment of counsel to which the Sixth Amendment entitles him,” and “we cannot say that the error here was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt” … . People v Mckenzie, 2016 NY Slip Op 06288, 4th Dept 9-30-16
CRIMINAL LAW (REVERSIBLE ERROR TO ALLOW DEFENDANT TO SELECT JUROR, A SELECTION WITH WHICH DEFENSE COUNSEL APPARENTLY DISAGREED)/ATTORNEYS (CRIMINAL LAW, REVERSIBLE ERROR TO ALLOW DEFENDANT TO SELECT JUROR, A SELECTION WITH WHICH DEFENSE COUNSEL APPARENTLY DISAGREED)/JURORS (CRIMINAL LAW, REVERSIBLE ERROR TO ALLOW DEFENDANT TO SELECT JUROR, A SELECTION WITH WHICH DEFENSE COUNSEL APPARENTLY DISAGREED)