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Name: People v. Sullivan
Case #: A109149
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/29/2007

When a defendant elects to represent himself at the municipal court level, he must be readvised of his right to counsel when arraigned at the superior court level; however, error is susceptible to harmless error analysis. (Pen. Code, sec. 987, subd. (a); People v. Crayton (2002) 28 Cal.4th 346.) By jury trial, appellant was convicted of six counts of robbery, prior strike convictions, prior serious felonies, and prior prison terms, and sentenced to 210 years in prison. At the trial, appellant represented himself. This resulting appeal provides a primer on the law of self-representation with the following caveats gleaned. Because a request for self-representation is in effect a waiver of the right to counsel, to be valid the waiver must be knowing and intelligent with the court insuring that the defendant understands the nature of the charges, the possible penalties, and the inherent dangers in self-representation. (Faretta v. California (1975) 422 U.S. 806; U.S. v. Erskine (9th Cir. 2004) 355 F.3d 1161.) The burden is on the defendant to establish error with the totality of the circumstances considered. A trial judge is not obligated to restore counsel if a Faretta defendant changes his mind, the request being left to the court’s discretion. (Brookner v. Superior Court (1998) 64 Cal.App.4th 1390.)