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Tag Archives: right to counsel

The spit and run defense

You think you have problem clients? One defendant tried to feign mental impairment, ran off three appointed attorneys—one of whom he threatened to kill and spit in the attorney’s face—and then argued on appeal that he had been denied his right to counsel.

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Criminal Practice – Probation Revocation – Right to Counsel – Waiver Form

State v. Ramirez Both on defendant’s waiver form and before the trial court, defendant consistently maintained that he intended to hire an attorney and did not intend to proceed pro se. The trial court seems to have been under the mistaken belief that defendant had waived his right to all counsel, as the state told the trial court that defendant had “waived counsel,” and, when directed by the trial court to begin only if counsel had been waived, the state began discussing the merits of the hearing.

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Domestic Relations – Parent & Child – Termination of Parental Rights – Right to Counsel – Waiver – Guardian ad Litem’s Role

In re P.D.R. Our Court of Appeals applied G.S. § 15A-1242 to find that a trial court had abused its discretion by allowing the respondent in a termination-of-parental-rights (TPR) proceeding to waive her right to counsel. Section 15A-1242 applies in criminal proceedings and has no application in TPR proceedings.

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Criminal Practice – Constitutional – Right to Counsel – Waiver – Knowing & Intelligent – Insufficient Showing

State v. Anderson Where our Court of Appeals held, Even though defendant executed a written waiver of counsel which was certified by the trial court, since the trial court failed to clarify the specific charges against defendant, to inform him of potential punishments, or explicitly to inform defendant that he could request court-appointed counsel, defendant has shown that the trial court failed to determine whether defendant knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily waived his right to counsel, we affirm.

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Criminal Practice – Constitutional – Right to Counsel – Withdrawal – No Substitution

State v. Stroud The trial court concluded there were “legal grounds to require counsel to withdraw or remove defense counsel,” but the court then gave defendant only two options: either keep existing defense counsel or waive counsel and try the case without an attorney. This was a constitutional error, and the state has not shown that the error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. Defendant is entitled to a new trial.

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Criminal Practice – Constitutional – Right to Counsel – Miranda Warnings – Videotaped Interview – Transcript Only

State v. Jordan The trial court’s determination that defendant had voluntarily and intelligently waived his Miranda rights was based not only on the transcript of defendant’s police interview, but also on the videotape of the interview. Defendant failed to include the videotape in the appellate record, so we must accept the trial court’s findings of fact as binding. The trial court’s findings of fact support its conclusion that defendant waived his Miranda rights intelligently, voluntarily and knowingly. We find no error in defendant’s conviction of first-degree murder.

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