Skip to content
Name: Hirschfield v. Payne
Case #: 04-35437
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 08/22/2005

Reversal on Faretta grounds: Hirschfield moved to discharge his court appointed attorney and represent himself because he stated it was the only way he was going to get the defense he required. He stated that although it was the day before trial, the motion was not a delaying tactic. The court denied the motion on the ground that Hirschfield was engaged in a pattern of delay and was either trying to get a new attorney or delay his trial. Two weeks later, the trial had still not begun, and Hirschfield renewed his motion. The trial judge denied the motion, based on Hirschfield’s lack of understanding of legal procedures, and reaffirming the earlier decision. On appeal, Hirschfield argued that his right to self-representation had been denied, and the Washington appellate courts affirmed. Hirschfield raised the issue again in this habeas petition. The appellate court reversed and remanded. The denial of a request for self-representation on the ground that the defendant lacks sufficient knowledge of the legal procedure is not only erroneous, but directly contrary to Supreme Court precedent. Since the finding on the first motion was based on an intent to delay, an issue which was not relevant at the time of the second motion, it cannot be applied to the second motion as well.