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Name: People v. Robinson
Case #: C051338
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Citation: 151 606

When a trial court suspends criminal proceedings because of a reasonable doubt as to the defendant’s competence, it is required to appoint counsel for the defendant. Faretta v. California does not apply in competency proceedings. This is a requirement of statute (Pen. Code, s. 1368), and also a requirement of the Fourteenth Amendment, since a defendant cannot waive his right to fair competency proceedings. The court followed prior federal and state authority (the latter of which was pre-Faretta) which found that a court cannot question a defendant’s competence to stand trial, and at the same time conclude that he may knowingly and intelligently waive his right to counsel; a doubt as to one necessarily implies a doubt as to the other. The court remanded for a retrospective competency hearing rather than reversing in full, recognizing that this was the exceptional remedy rather than the rule, but finding that the circumstances of this particular case warranted it.

Opinion Date: 05/29/2007