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Home / Opinion Digests / Criminal Practice / Criminal Practice – Constitutional – Bench Trial – Arraignment Date – Waiver of Right to Counsel

Criminal Practice – Constitutional – Bench Trial – Arraignment Date – Waiver of Right to Counsel

Defendant was arraigned on Feb. 27, 2014, but the constitutional amendment allowing criminal bench trials applies only to defendants arraigned on or after Dec. 1, 2014; consequently, defendant’s request for a bench trial should not have been granted.

Because the fact-finder was “improperly constituted” for purposes of N.C. Const. art. 1, § 24 (2014) in that it consisted of a single trial judge rather than 12 unanimous jurors, automatic reversal is required.

Defendant is entitled to a new trial.

Although defendant’s egregious pretrial conduct led the trial court to rule that he had forfeited his right to counsel, since defendant accepted the appointment of counsel on appeal following his trial and allowed appointed counsel to represent him throughout the appellate process, the trial court’s prior forfeiture determinations will not carry over to defendant’s new trial.

State v. Boderick (Lawyers Weekly No. 011-108-18, 18 pp.) (Valerie Zachary, J.) Appealed from Mecklenburg County Superior Court (Robert Sumner, J.) Sonya Calloway-Durham for the state; Kathryn VandenBerg for defendant. N.C. App.

 


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