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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. "So we broke with England for the right to "off" our preborn progeny at will, and allow the processing plant doing the dirty deeds (dirt cheap) to profit on the marketing of those "products of conception." I was completely maleducated on our nation's founding, it would seem. (But I know the ACLU is hard at work to remedy that, too.)" Well, you know, we're just following in the footsteps of our founders who raped women, raped slaves, raped children, maimed immigrants, sold children, stole property, broke promises, broke apart families, killed natives... You know, good God fearing down home Christian folk! :/

  2. Who gives a rats behind about all the fluffy ranking nonsense. What students having to pay off debt need to know is that all schools aren't created equal and students from many schools don't have a snowball's chance of getting a decent paying job straight out of law school. Their lowly ranked lawschool won't tell them that though. When schools start honestly (accurately) reporting *those numbers, things will get interesting real quick, and the looks on student's faces will be priceless!

  3. Whilst it may be true that Judges and Justices enjoy such freedom of time and effort, it certainly does not hold true for the average working person. To say that one must 1) take a day or a half day off work every 3 months, 2) gather a list of information including recent photographs, and 3) set up a time that is convenient for the local sheriff or other such office to complete the registry is more than a bit near-sighted. This may be procedural, and hence, in the near-sighted minds of the court, not 'punishment,' but it is in fact 'punishment.' The local sheriffs probably feel a little punished too by the overwork. Registries serve to punish the offender whilst simultaneously providing the public at large with a false sense of security. The false sense of security is dangerous to the public who may not exercise due diligence by thinking there are no offenders in their locale. In fact, the registry only informs them of those who have been convicted.

  4. Unfortunately, the court doesn't understand the difference between ebidta and adjusted ebidta as they clearly got the ruling wrong based on their misunderstanding

  5. A common refrain in the comments on this website comes from people who cannot locate attorneys willing put justice over retainers. At the same time the judiciary threatens to make pro bono work mandatory, seemingly noting the same concern. But what happens to attorneys who have the chumptzah to threatened the legal status quo in Indiana? Ask Gary Welch, ask Paul Ogden, ask me. Speak truth to power, suffer horrendously accordingly. No wonder Hoosier attorneys who want to keep in good graces merely chase the dollars ... the powers that be have no concerns as to those who are ever for sale to the highest bidder ... for those even willing to compromise for $$$ never allow either justice or constitutionality to cause them to stand up to injustice or unconstitutionality. And the bad apples in the Hoosier barrel, like this one, just keep rotting.

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