Monday, November 25, 2013

When A Defendant Is An Experienced Criminal Lawyer, Faretta Does Not Apply

The Kentucky Supreme Court reinstated the judgment of conviction of an attorney "with extensive experience in the practice of criminal law" who was convicted of failure to file five years of state income tax returns.

The court commented on his experience with the law: "[S]uch knowledge appears remiss from his professional and personal choices."

The attorney/defendant represented himself  "until the day before a previously continued jury trial was scheduled to begin." He then sought a continuance to secure counsel, which was denied in light of his own professional background. The trial court denied the continuance but failed to conduct a proceeding advising the defendant/attorney of the dangers of self representation (a so-called Faretta hearing).

The evidence at trial showed that he "used his fiduciary status to launder money through clients' bank accounts" misuing a power of attorney of a homeless client.

The Court of Appeals had reversed the conviction for failure of the trial court to conduct the Faretta hearing.

The court

...we hold that criminal defendants who are experienced criminal trial attorneys are not entitled to a Faretta hearing or inquiry prior to representing themselves.

Giving the benefits of Faretta under the circumstances "would offend the very purpose and integrity of Faretta and its progeny." (Mike Frisch)

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