Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Hirschfield v. Payne

No. 04-35437 (8-22-05). The 9th grants relief for a petitioner who wanted to represent himself. Here, petitioner had sought removal of counsel several time son the eve of trial, and his request was granted. He tried it again when trial was looming, but the judge found that it was a delaying tactic, and denied the request. the trial then got continued because of schedule conflicts for several weeks. The petitioner then renewed his request when the case was reassigned to a different judge. The judge conducted a new hearing and didn't reaffirm the prior court's ruling. At the new hearing, the judge denied the request because the petitioner "didn't know the legal technicalities" nor the legal rules. Error! The 9th grudgingly acknowledges that the judge said the wrong thing, and that a defendant's unsophistication or lack of knowledge was insufficient to deny a Faretta request. If the judge has reaffirmed the previous ruling on the basis of delaying tactics, that would have been fine. The court though ruled on a different and inappropriate basis.


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