State v. Kim

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: 05-13-2015
  • Case #: A153446
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Tookey, J. for the Court; Sercombe, P.J.; & Hadlock, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under Article I, Section 11 of the Oregon Constitution, the right to effective counsel at a criminal trial may only be waived if the record reflects that the defendant “voluntarily and intelligently” waived his right to an attorney.

Defendant appeals the trial court’s judgment of conviction for four charges related to an assault of a female acquaintance, arguing that his counsel at trial was ineffective. Though Defendant was appointed two different attorneys by the trial court, Defendant insisted on representing himself, successfully waiving his right to effective counsel at trial. On appeal, Defendant argued that he was represented by ineffective counsel because he was not properly or adequately informed of the consequences of waiving his right to counsel. The Court addressed this question by reviewing the proper threshold at which a Defendant “voluntarily and intelligently” waives his right to counsel. The Court weighed the totality of the circumstances in this case, including Defendant’s limited English language skills and the complexity of the legal system to determine that, notwithstanding Defendant’s adamant declarations of his ability to represent himself at trial, the record did not support a finding that Defendant’s waiver of counsel was “voluntarily or intelligently made” and therefore his inadequate self-representation was harmful error. Reversed and remanded.

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