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COA orders new trial for man who represented himself

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Finding a defendant did not knowingly or intelligently waive his right to counsel, the Indiana Court of Appeals Thursday ordered a new trial on strangulation and domestic battery charges.

In Timothy W. Parish v. State of Indiana, 64A03-1210-CR-438, Timothy Parish was arrested for strangling his live-in fiancée and her 9-year-old son during an argument. He was charged with two counts of Class D felony strangulation and one count of Class D felony domestic battery.

Parish was informed of his right to counsel at the initial hearing. He posted a surety bond and was released from jail. At another hearing, Parish told the court he wasn’t going to hire an attorney and the court didn’t inquire further about the decision to represent himself. Later, he wanted a public defender, so the court asked about his financial status. After learning that Parish owned his home and had around $130,000 equity in it, the judge denied appointing a public defender.

Parish was convicted as charged.

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed that the trial court didn’t abuse its discretion in denying Parish counsel at the public expense because Parish did not further explain to the court what his paycheck paid. He posted bond the same day it was set and later hired an attorney to represent him at sentencing.

But, the appeals court ruled, the trial court erred by not advising Parish of the dangers and disadvantages of self-representation. The judge made no inquiry into Parish’s decision to represent himself, only gave him one advisement that he was entitled to an attorney, and never investigated his educational background and legal experience.

“The facts and circumstances of this case do not warrant a knowing and intelligent waiver. The importance of the right to counsel cautions that trial courts should at a minimum reasonably inform defendants of the dangers and disadvantages of proceeding without counsel,” Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote.

 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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