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Name: U.S. v. Kaczynski
Case #: 99-16531
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 02/12/2001
Subsequent History: rehg. den. 8/17/01

The trial court did not err when it denied appellant’s motion to withdraw his plea, which was entered following the denial of a Faretta motion. Appellant discovered that his California attorneys intended to produce evidence that he suffered from mental illness and submitted letters to the court regarding his conflict with that defense. Appellant asked to represent himself and the court denied that motion. Appellant originally agreed to a compromise under the terms of which the mental illness evidence would only be admitted during the penalty phase of the trial. He subsequently entered a guilty plea in exchange for a withdrawal by the government of the intent to seek the death penalty. Appellant subsequently moved to withdraw his plea as involuntary, because he was denied his right to self-representation, and because he was denied his right to prevent the appointed defense counsel from presenting evidence in support of an impaired mental state defense. The appellate court here found that under the totality of circumstances, the plea was voluntary. The request for self-representation was for tactical reasons and not for any other good faith reason other than delay, and thus was properly denied. Therefore, the guilty plea was not rendered involuntary. Appellant’s claim that his plea was involuntary due to his aversion to be being portrayed as mentally ill was inconsistent with his earlier agreement that the evidence could be presented at the penalty phase of the trial. Therefore, the district court was correct in ruling that this did not transform his plea into an involuntary act.