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Name: Alabama v. Shelton
Case #: 00-1214
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 05/20/2002
Subsequent History: Cross-cites: 152 L.Ed.2d 888; 122 S.Ct. 1764

Appellant represented himself in a misdemeanor case. Although he was repeatedly warned about the dangers of self-representation, he was at no time offered the assistance of counsel. He was convicted of a misdemeanor and sentenced to probation with a suspended 30-day jail sentence. The Alabama Supreme Court reversed, holding that absent and knowing and intelligent waiver, the assistance counsel is required for conviction of a misdemeanor that actually leads to imprisonment, even for a brief period. Here, the Supreme Court affirmed that decision, holding that failure to appoint counsel to an indigent defendant bars the imposition…

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Name: People v. Martin
Case #: E028833
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 05/14/2002
Subsequent History: None

Defendant’s constitutional rights under Massiah v.United States (1964) 377 U.S. 201 were not violated when the police arranged for his girlfriend to secretly record inculpatory telephone conversations while he was represented by counsel. In addition to a murder, the police were investigating defendant’s later intimidation of the girlfriend as a witness. Here the police provided the recording equipment. The girlfriend voluntarily contacted the police (although she was in fear for hers and her daughter’s lives), the police did not give her any instructions or suggested questions. The appellate court found no waiver of Sixth Amendment rights…

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Name: U.S. v. Alexander
Case #: 00-30348
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 04/19/2002
Subsequent History: None

Alexander was a member of the State Bar of Montana who was indicted in an adoption fraud case. A Federal Defender, Werner, was appointed to represent him. Alexander resided in Oklahoma and communicated with Werner through mail and telephone. He made numerous threats to harm people involved in the prosecution, including Werner. Werner notified the U.S. Probation office of the threats, and was served with a grand jury subpoena. He was ordered by the court to testify concerning the threats without revealing any confidential communications not related to the threats. On appeal Alexander argued…

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Name: Baker City of Blaine
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 08/09/2000
Subsequent History: None

There was no violation of the Sixth Amendment right to counsel where appellant waived his right to counsel and represented himself at a jury trial on a charge of driving under the influence. Because appellant had previously been convicted of drunk driving, it can be assumed that he knew he was entitled to appointed counsel if he qualified financially. Therefore, his waiver of the right to counsel was knowing and intelligent. J. Canby dissented, noting that the waiver was not knowing and intelligent. Baker made it clear that he would represent himself because he had no funds…

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Name: Tamalini v. Stewart
Case #: 99-35888
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 05/08/2001
Subsequent History: None

The Washington Court of Appeal appointed the Washington Appellate Defender Association (WADA) to represent Reno Tamalini on his appeal from his second-degree murder conviction. While his appeal was pending, the contract between the Court and WADA expired, and new counsel was appointed to represent Tamalini. His conviction was affirmed. In this appeal from the denial of his federal habeas petition, Tamalini argued that his Sixth Amendment right to counsel was violated when the state forced his attorney to withdraw and appointed a different counsel against his will. The appellate court here affirmed. The Sixth Amendment's…

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Name: People v. Slayton
Case #: S086153
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 10/18/2001
Subsequent History: None

Slayton was interrogated by police officers concerning an uncharged burglary after his right to counsel attached on a vehicle theft charge. The Court of Appeal held that appellant Slayton’s statements regarding his involvement in the burglary were properly suppressed because the burglary was inextricably intertwined with the vehicle theft. (The crimes involved the same victim and location, and appellant obtained the keys to the vehicle during the burglary.) After the California Supreme Court granted review, the United States Supreme Court held in Texas v. Cobb (2001) 532 U.S. 162, that the Sixth Amendment right to…

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Name: Texas v. Cobb
Case #: 99-1702
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 04/02/2001
Subsequent History: None

The Sixth Amendment right to counsel is "offense specific" and does not necessarily extend to other offenses that are "factually related" to those that have been actually charged. The Owings house was burglarized, and Mrs. Owings and her baby were missing. Cobb had been arrested for the burglary and appointed counsel on that charge. While released on bond, he confessed to his father that he had killed Mrs. Owings. His father in turn notified the police, who administered Miranda warnings, which Cobb waived. Cobb confessed to murdering the mother and child. The Court held…

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Name: People v. Keller
Case #: C033613
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 02/14/2001
Subsequent History: rev. granted 5/23/01 (S096233); Rev. dismissed 1/23/02 and remanded.

Editor's Note: Review granted. Appellant did not receive ineffective assistance of counsel because his attorney failed to object to the introduction of taped conversations appellant had with an undercover officer while appellant was in jail after arraignment for false imprisonment offenses committed against his wife. Appellant, who already had counsel appointed on the false imprisonment offenses, attempted to hire a "hit man" to keep his wife from testifying against him, without realizing that the hit man was an undercover officer who was recording his statements. On appeal, he argued that counsel should have moved to exclude the tapes…

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Name: Glover v. United States
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 01/09/2001
Subsequent History: None

The United States Supreme Court here held that the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals erred in engrafting onto the analysis of an ineffective assistance of counsel claim under Strickland v. Washington (1984) 466 U.S. 668, an additional requirement that to prove prejudice, an increase in the term of imprisonment must be "significant." Although the amount by which a defendant's sentence is increased by a particular decision may be a factor to consider in determining whether counsel's performance in failing to argue the point constitutes ineffective assistance, it cannot serve as a bar to a showing of prejudice. Here,…

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Name: People v. Peracchi
Case #: F031202
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/17/2001
Subsequent History: Review denied 5/2/01

Under Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 435, appellant's rights were violated where appellant said he did not want to talk to officers, but officers persisted in questioning him about his motivations for remaining silent. The officers' questions were designed to elicit an incriminating response after appellant had already invoked his right to remain silent. An interrogator never needs to know why a suspect wishes to remain silent; once the suspect's rights have been invoked, all questioning should cease. However, reversal was required only on the conviction for resisting arrest. Since Peracchi's admission relating to possession…

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