- Associated Press - Saturday, March 12, 2016

PATERSON, N.J. (AP) - The sentencing of a drunken driver convicted in a fatal accident was postponed when the man told a judge that he wanted to fire his lawyer and asked for a public defender.

The Record (bit.ly/1pDidVp) reports that David Baker made the statements during a hearing Friday in Paterson. The 59-year-old Paterson man had been convicted of vehicular homicide at a nonjury trial last November and was facing up 10 years in prison.

Baker told state Superior Court Judge Adam Jacobs that he wanted to end his contract with his attorney, Harley Breite, though it wasn’t clear why he made the request.

Breite and another attorney, Robert Baer, had represented Baker after his arrest. Baer represented him in the trial, but Breite took over after Baer suffered an illness last month.

Breite told the judge he was reluctant to continue to represent Baker after his client made the statement in open court. The judge agreed and postponed the sentencing until April 1.

Passaic County prosecutors say Baker had a blood-alcohol content of 0.28 percent when he struck Maria Garcia as she was crossing a Paterson street in 2012. That’s more than three times the legal limit in New Jersey.

Baker denied being drunk and also argued during the trial that he never struck Garcia, claiming he was the victim of a conspiracy involving police and people who claimed to have witnessed the accident. The judge dismissed Jacobs’ claims as “grandiose” and “unconvincing.”


Information from: The Record (Woodland Park, N.J.), https://www.northjersey.com

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