State v. Ortega

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: 07-06-2017
  • Case #: A157763
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Haselton, S.J. for the Court; DeVore, P.J.; & Garrett, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under Article I, section 11, of the Oregon Constitution and the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, when a defendant requests to exercise his or her right to self-representation, the trial court must make a determination on the record (1) whether the defendant’s request for self-representation is “an intelligent and understanding decision”; and (2) “whether granting the defendant’s request would disrupt the judicial process.” State v. Miller, 254 Or App 514, 522-23 (2013).

Defendant appealed the trial court’s judgment of multiple criminal convictions. Defendant assigned error to the trial court’s denial of his pre-trial request to waive representation by a lawyer and denial of Defendant’s request to represent himself. Defendant argued his rights under Article I, section 11, of the Oregon Constitution and the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution to self-representation were violated after Defendant’s unambiguous request to represent himself was denied, and the trial court failed to engage in the inquiry prescribed for the assessment of such requests. State responded, that the issue was not preserved for review on appeal. Under Article I, section 11, of the Oregon Constitution and the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, when a defendant requests to exercise his or her right to self-representation, the trial court must make a determination on the record (1) whether the defendant’s request for self-representation is “an intelligent and understanding decision”; and (2) “whether granting the defendant’s request would disrupt the judicial process.” State v. Miller, 254 Or App 514, 522-23 (2013). In this case, the trial court never assessed whether Defendant’s waiver of counsel was intelligent and understanding, and the record did not indicate any discretionary determination by the trial court that permitting Defendant to represent himself would disrupt the judicial process. Reversed and remanded. 

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