State v. Williams

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: 11-08-2017
  • Case #: A158853
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: DeHoog, P.J. for the Court; Egan, J.; & Aoyagi, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

A defendant may invoke his right to proceed without representation midtrial, however, a court is permitted to deny the motion if it could result in disruption or delay. State v. Hightower, 361 Or 412, 418, 393 P3d 224 (2017). The record must show that “the trial court actually weighed the relevant competing interests involved.” Id at 421.

Defendant appealed a conviction for second-degree criminal trespass (ORS 164.245) and interfering with a peace officer (ORS 162.247). Defendant assigned error to the trial court’s denial of his request to discharge his court-appointed counsel and represent himself pro se. Defendant argued the trial court did not provide a proper reason to deny the request. The state countered that Defendant’s “interruptive and argumentative behavior before and after trial” was a valid implicit reason for denying the motion. A defendant may invoke his right to proceed without representation midtrial, however, a court is permitted to deny the motion if it could result in disruption or delay. State v. Hightower, 361 Or 412, 418, 393 P3d 224 (2017). The record must show that “the trial court actually weighed the relevant competing interests involved.” Id at 421. The Court of Appeals fond the record did not demonstrate the court was aware of the need to balance competing interests. The Court held that the trial court erred because the record did not implicitly or expressly indicate the court balanced “the defendant’s right to self-representation against the need for an orderly and expeditious trial.” Reversed and remanded. 

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