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No new trial for defendant who discovered pitfalls of proceeding pro se

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A defendant’s request for a do-over after representing himself at trial and being found guilty was denied by the Indiana Court of Appeals with the admonishment “proceeding pro se is riddled with pitfalls.”

Adrian Jackson appealed his conviction on the grounds the trial court violated his Sixth Amendment right to counsel because his decision to waive his right to counsel was not made knowingly, voluntarily and intelligently.

In Adrian Jackson v. State of Indiana, 49A01211-CR-553, the appeals court declined to disturb Jackson’s convictions, finding the trial court properly inquired into his request to go ahead pro se and provided him with sufficient advisements. The court affirmed the judgment of the trial court.

“In this case, a criminal defendant asserted his constitutional right to self-representation but unfortunately discovered that proceeding pro se is riddled with pitfalls,” Judge John Baker wrote.

Following a jury trial, Jackson was found guilty of Counts I and II, Class B felony criminal confinement; Counts III, IV, and V, Class B felony robbery, and Counts VI and VII, Class C felony battery. He was sentenced to an aggregate of 30 years.

Jackson claimed he only waived his right to counsel because he did not want to be represented by his appointed counsel and that the trial court failed to appoint him alternative counsel.

The COA conceded trial courts have no specific “talking points” when advising a defendant about the dangers and disadvantages of proceeding without counsel. However, in Poynter v. State, 749 N.E.2d 1122, 1126 (Ind. 2001), the Indiana Supreme Court has adopted four factors for a trial court to consider when determining whether a knowing, voluntary, and intelligent waiver has occurred.

The Court of Appeals examined whether the lower court provided Jackson with sufficient information about the pitfalls of self-representation; if the defendant had the background and experience necessary to make an informed decision; and if the context in which Jackson made his decision unduly influenced his actions.

Finding the trial court did meet the four Poynter factors, the COA concluded Jackson was not denied his Sixth Amendment right to counsel and the trial court properly determined his waiver was knowing, voluntary and intelligent.  
 

 

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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