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Name: People v. Weber
Case #: C060135
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/10/2013

Trial court properly found appellant competent to waive his right to counsel despite his attempts to thwart the proceedings by his frivolous objections. In an appeal from his conviction for unlawful possession of a gun and ammunition, Weber contended that the trial court failed to conduct an adequate Faretta inquiry, to ensure that Weber was competent to waive counsel, that he actually wanted to waive counsel, and that he knowingly and voluntarily waived counsel. Weber argued that the frivolous objections he made throughout the proceedings showed that there was a serious question about his mental state. The appellate court rejected the argument. The evidence showed that Weber’s bizarre motions and objections were not the result of delusions, but intentional efforts to thwart the proceedings. Both of the psychiatrists who examined him after the trial court declared a doubt about his competency concluded that he was malingering and the court found him competent. Once a defendant has been found competent, even bizarre statements and actions are not enough to require a further inquiry. The appellate court also rejected appellant’s claim that he did not wish to represent himself. Weber stated clearly that he wished to proceed without an attorney. Neither the trial court’s inability to complete the standard Faretta admonishments, due to Weber’s refusal to listen, nor Weber’s subsequent behavior showed that he did not understand what he was doing when he waived the right to counsel. The court further held that because Weber did not make an unequivocal request for counsel at the beginning of the sentencing hearing, the court did not err by proceeding with the sentencing hearing.