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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. Based on several recent Indy Star articles, I would agree that being a case worker would be really hard. You would see the worst of humanity on a daily basis; and when things go wrong guess who gets blamed??!! Not biological parent!! Best of luck to those who entered that line of work.

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  4. Law school is social control the goal to produce a social product. As such it began after the Revolution and has nearly ruined us to this day: "“Scarcely any political question arises in the United States which is not resolved, sooner or later, into a judicial question. Hence all parties are obliged to borrow, in their daily controversies, the ideas, and even the language, peculiar to judicial proceedings. As most public men [i.e., politicians] are, or have been, legal practitioners, they introduce the customs and technicalities of their profession into the management of public affairs. The jury extends this habitude to all classes. The language of the law thus becomes, in some measure, a vulgar tongue; the spirit of the law, which is produced in the schools and courts of justice, gradually penetrates beyond their walls into the bosom of society, where it descends to the lowest classes, so that at last the whole people contract the habits and the tastes of the judicial magistrate.” ? Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

  5. Attorney? Really? Or is it former attorney? Status with the Ind St Ct? Status with federal court, with SCOTUS? This is a legal newspaper, or should I look elsewhere?

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