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Name: People v. Barnum
Case #: S095872
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 03/17/2003

The Supreme Court disapproved as unsound the Killpatrick-Kramer rule (People v. Killpatrick (1957) 153 Cal.App.2d 146; People v. Kramer (1964) 227 Cal.App.2d 199) requiring the trial court to advise a defendant who represents herself or himself of the privilege against compelled self-incrimination before such a defendant is called by the People as a witness in their case-in-chief or testifies in his or her own defense. The Supreme Court rejected the Court of Appeal’s conclusion that the rule had been undermined by Faretta v. California (1975) 422 U.S. 806. Although Faretta does not require the court to advise of the privilege against self-incrimination, it does not prohibit such an advisement. There is no justification for singling out this privilege as requiring a mandatory advisement. Since Faretta, the trial court has been required to make a defendant seeking self-representation aware of the dangers and disadvantages of self-representation, including the defendant’s inability to rely on the court to provide assistance that would have otherwise been given by counsel. A defendant who voluntarily, intelligently, and knowingly gives up the right to counsel assumes the risk of her or his own ignorance. The rule is to be applied to all cases not yet final on appeal or review.