Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Court Considers Invocation of Right to Dispense with Counsel

US v. Loya-Rodriguez, 2012 WL 561050, No. 11-1051 (10th Cir. 2/22/12) (published): Mr. Loya-Rodriguez did not clearly and unequivocally invoke his right to represent himself at his trial for illegal reentry, even though he constantly rejected his appointed counsel’s services and sent a letter to the district court before trial. It was reasonable for the district court to conclude, in light of Mr. Loya’s initial request for appointed counsel, that his unwillingness to cooperate with his attorney was a different matter from a desire to represent himself. The letter could also be fairly read as expressing frustration with his attorney, not a request to do without counsel altogether. However, he did explicitly ask to represent himself at sentencing, when, in a letter delivered a month before sentencing, he said, “All I’m asking you is to let me represent myself. I don’t need no attorney, or legal representation.” Defendant gets a new sentencing proceeding, presumably pro se.