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Name: Rogers v. Marshall
Case #: 10-55816
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 05/17/2012

The hearing on a motion for new trial is a critical stage of a criminal proceeding and the denial of a request for counsel at that stage, after a prior waiver of counsel, is a Sixth Amendment violation. Rogers entered a Faretta waiver and represented himself at trial. Once there were jury verdicts against him, he timely requested that the court appoint counsel to represent him for the purpose of filing a motion for new trial. The request was denied on the basis that he had previously elected to represent himself. The Ninth Circuit found the California court’s application of a standard of abuse of discretion to the ruling on the request for counsel was contrary to clearly established federal law. The post-verdict new trial motion is a “critical stage” under the Sixth Amendment because it is the last opportunity for an unconstrained review on the merits of the evidence in the case. Further, general governing principles would require that the right to counsel apply even after it has previously been waived.