A notice of Motion/Order to Show Cause/ Petition/Cross Motion and This court is called upon to determine (1) whether the attorney for the defendant’s application to be relieved as attorney of record should be granted; (2) if the defendant’s applications brought pro se while still represented by counsel are properly before the court; (3) whether or not the defendant is entitled to a 30 day stay of all proceedings in the event counsel is relieved pursuant to CPLR 321(c); (4) whether or not the defendant is entitled to a second court appointed counsel pursuant to Judiciary Law section 35(8)(b) on the issues of child custody, visitation and an order of protection; (5) whether or not the defendant should have the benefit of a court assigned interpreter; (6) the sua sponte sealing of photographs of the child’s genitalia and buttocks which were annexed exhibits to defendant’s order to show cause.
The defendant is presently represented by an attorney of her own choosing. Defendant’s counsel moved by order to show caused dated November 5, 2010, to be relieved. The counsel seeks to be relieved as the attorney of record based upon an irretrievable breakdown in the attorney client relationship. The defendant submits in her most recent application disparaging statements about him and his representation of her. In open court, on November 17, 2010, defendant stated she wished to discharge his attorney and asked for the appointment of counsel pursuant to Judiciary Law section 35(8)(b).
The said counsel is defendant’s third attorney of record. Previously, defendant was represented by pro bono counsel, a New York City law firm. On March 10, 2010, a consent to change attorney was filed and the defendant was substituted as attorney pro se. On May 5, 2010, an attorney was appointed by the court as the attorney for the defendant pursuant to the Judiciary Law on the issues of child custody, visitation and an order of protection. Although not initially disclosed to the court by defendant, this attorney simultaneously represented defendant in Family Court. On August 10, 2010, defendant was again substituted pro se for this attorney on consent. The attorney had moved by order to show cause, dated August 13, 2010, to be relieved. That application was rendered moot based upon the pro se substitution and the fact that defendant already retained private counsel to wit: the counsel unbeknownst to the court assigned attorney. After having discharged the court appointed counsel and hired private counsel, defendant seeks to now have the court appoint her another attorney. The counsel represented the defendant in an all-day temporary custody hearing on October 7, 2010, before this court. The court after the hearing awarded temporary custody of the infant issue to the father. He is the more stable parent, at the present time, for the care of the child. As a result of the hearing the court believes that plaintiff was a victim of domestic violence; on one occasion he sought medical assistance at an emergency room. Apparently, shortly before that hearing, defendant appeared in the Family Court, Queens County, pro se, and obtained an ex parte temporary order of protection against plaintiff. That petition indicated that there were “no prior applications” for an order of protection notwithstanding the present application in this matrimonial action or the two (2) prior Kings County Family Court applications for orders of protection which were withdrawn on the record in open court after consolidation on consent. Upon disclosure to this court of the defendant’s application in Queens County, this court from the bench contacted the Referee from Queens Family Court who indicated she has no knowledge of an existing matrimonial action. This court informed counsel and the parties’ of this on the record in open Court. Upon written application, this court, ex parte, granted consolidation of the Queens Family Court matter and ordered a hearing on November 17, 2010. That hearing was adjourned so the counsel could make the present application to be relieved because of defendant’s alleged actions and alleged failure to cooperate with him. Defendant also brought on two (2) orders to show cause pro se while still being represented by counsel and not informing him of her intent to do so. On November 22, 2010, defendant submitted an application for poor person status and filed a third pro se order to show cause.