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Name: Frantz v. Hazey
Case #: 05-16024
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 01/22/2008

Petitioner’s Sixth Amendment right to self representation was violated when standby counsel had an in-chambers discussion without his presence or consent. The appellate court reversed the district court’s denial of a habeas petition challenging the petitioner’s exclusion from a chambers conference in which his advisory counsel participated and discussed how the judge should respond to a query from the deliberating jury. Reviewing de novo the petitioner’s Sixth Amendment claim regarding his exclusion from the chambers conference, the court held that because a pro se defendant is entitled to preserve actual control over the case he chooses to present to the jury, standby counsel’s solo participation in the conference could have violated the petitioner’s right to self-representation. The panel remanded to the district court for an evidentiary hearing concerning the circumstances during the course of the trial and after the jury retired that gave rise to the petitioner’s exclusion from the conference, including whether he was accurately informed of the purpose of the conference and given the opportunity to appear but declined to do so, and for a determination whether the petitioner’s Faretta/McKaskle rights to self-representation were violated by that exclusion.