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Name: United States v. Rice
Case #: 13-10152
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 01/22/2015

District court's delay in ruling on defendant's motion for self-representation did not violate the Sixth Amendment because the court's later actions ensured that defendant received a fair chance to present his case in his own way. At his arraignment on money laundering charges, Rice notified the court that he would be representing himself. The district court said it would decide the issue at a later date, and appointed the public defender to represent Rice. After the hearing, the trial court ordered 12 pretrial motions that Rice filed stricken because a local rule prohibited pro se filings by represented…

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Name: People v. Kirvin
Case #: B246329
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 12/04/2014

Substantial evidence supported the trial court's competency determination where two experts agreed that defendant understood the charges and proceedings, but only one found him to be competent. Before Kirvin's trial, the court declared a doubt about his competence, suspended proceedings under Penal Code section 1368, and appointed two mental health experts to evaluate him. The experts agreed that Kirvin understood the nature of the charges against him and what was at stake, but they reached different conclusions regarding Kirvin's ability to assist in his defense. The court appointed a third expert, but Kirvin refused to meet with him. That expert,…

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Name: People v. Gardner
Case #: A135615
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 11/21/2014

Trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying request for self-representation where defendant suffered from an expressive language disorder that would prevent him from coherently communicating with the court or a jury. Gardner was convicted of first degree murder, torture, and other offenses. Prior to trial Gardner requested self-representation; his attorney expressed a doubt regarding his competence to stand trial. Criminal proceedings were suspended and a doctor was appointed to evaluate Gardner. The doctor reported that Gardner was competent to stand trial and to waive his right to counsel. However, she opined with "reasonable medical certainty" that Gardner was…

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Name: People v. Peyton
Case #: B248767
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 09/16/2014

Trial court did not err in denying Caperton motion for judicial disqualification where defendant failed to show an unconstitutional level of actual bias. Peyton was charged with two counts of receiving stolen property and one count of identity theft. After opting to represent himself, he proceeded to delay his trial over three years by repeatedly litigating side issues. His principle diversionary tactic was attacking the trial judge, but he also launched personal attacks against the integrity and honesty of other judges, the prosecutor, and law enforcement personnel. He filed many motions arguing that the trial judge should be recused. …

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Name: People v. Doss
Case #: A137203
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 09/26/2014

Trial court's use of wrong legal standard in revoking defendant's right to self-representation under Faretta v. California (1975) 422 U.S. 806, requires conditional reversal. Doss was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and other offenses, committed while he was an inmate. His request for pro per status was initially granted but was revoked after several hearings based on his abuse of his pro per privileges. Evidence was presented regarding Doss' destructive, violent behavior and abuse of telephone privileges at the jail. The prosecution also informed the court that Doss threatened and intimidated a female minor who was a codefendant…

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Name: People v. Fox
Case #: D063169
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 03/05/2014

Trial court's misadvice regarding nature of charge and whether conviction would be a strike did not render defendant's waiver of counsel invalid. Fox was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon (Pen. Code, § 245, subd. (a)(1)) and vandalism for offenses committed against his ex-girlfriend. At trial, during a break in the prosecution's direct examination of the victim, the trial court granted Fox's request to represent himself. On appeal he claimed his waiver of counsel was invalid because, at a pretrial hearing, the court misadvised him regarding the assault charge. Specifically, the trial court erroneously agreed with Fox's statement…

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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…

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Name: People v. Harrison
Case #: A132915
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 04/18/2013

After granting defendant's Faretta motion trial court had no duty to advise defendant of an option to request advisory counsel. A jury convicted defendant of sexual attacks against four women. He was sentenced to 100 years to life. One of defendant's appellate issues challenged the trial court's failure to advise him that he had the right to request appointment of advisory counsel after his request for self-representation was granted. Held: Affirmed. Prior to trial defendant's motion for self-representation was granted. At that time, an attorney was appointed as standby counsel, which involves no active role in the defense, but meant…

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Name: Marshall v. Rodgers
Case #: 12-382
Court: US Supreme Court
District USSup
Opinion Date: 04/01/2013
Subsequent History: 133 S.Ct. 1446; 185 L.Ed.2d 540

California trial court did not violate Sixth Amendment right to counsel by refusing to appoint counsel postconviction for purposes of filing new trial motion. Rodgers was convicted in state court of making criminal threats and firearm offenses. During the state court proceedings he was at several points represented by counsel and at others, self-represented. After a guilty verdict, Rodgers' request for appointment of counsel to file a new trial motion was denied. The state court affirmed his conviction. The Ninth Circuit reversed, finding Rodgers' Sixth Amendment right to counsel was violated when his timely request for counsel postconviction was denied.…

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Name: People v. James
Case #: A128865
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 12/22/2011
Subsequent History: Rehrg. denied; opn. modified

The right of self-representation does not encompass direct access to a publicly funded law library and there was no violation of the right by the jail providing access to legal materials through legal research assistants. The pro per defendant was not allowed direct access to the law library. He was required to use a "paging" system which provided only the specific materials requested. There was timely compliance with his numerous requests for legal materials. He alleged an inability to prepare for trial and relinquished his pro per status. Appointed counsel brought a motion to dismiss on the basis that the…

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