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State v. Lubbers

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 07-17-2013
Case #: A149760
Ortega P.J. for the Court;
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/docs/A149760.pdf

Criminal Procedure: A waiver of the right to counsel is valid when the totality of circumstances indicates that the defendant is aware of his or her right to counsel, the benefits of having counsel, and the disadvantages of self-representation.

Defendant appealed his conviction for resisting arrest, arguing that, by allowing him to represent himself when he did not fully understand the nature of the charges against him and the disadvantages of representing himself, the trial court violated his right to counsel under both the Oregon and federal constitutions. Defendant conceded that the trial court explained that an attorney could provide superior representation, but argued that this was insufficient because the court did not address what he deemed to be “special complexity” in raising a self-defense claim in a charge of resisting arrest. Defendant also argued that the trial court erred in denying his motion for a continuance. The Court of Appeals rejected the latter argument without discussion, and held regarding the former that Defendant intelligently waived his right to counsel. Defendant admittedly knew of lawyers who specialize in police misconduct, and even had some personal experience in this matter. Further, the trial court repeatedly explained many ways in which having an attorney could benefit him. As such, Defendant's waiver of counsel was validly and intelligently made, and the trial court did not err in allowing Defendant to proceed pro se. Affirmed.