Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Jones: No Unequivocal Request to Proceed Pro Se

In Jones v. Walker, No. 04-13562 (Aug. 27, 2007), the Court granted habeas relief to a Georgia state inmate on the ground that the state erroneously deprived him of the right to counsel in circumstances where the defendant, though unhappy with his trial counsel, had not unequivocally assert a desire to waive counsel and to represent himself, yet was ordered to proceed pro se. The Court found that the state courts erroneously found that trial counsel had advised the defendant of the "dangers" of self-representation, when in fact she had not. The Court further found that the defendant’s complaints about the incompetence of his court-appointed lawyer did not amount to a clear and unequivocal request to proceed pro se. The Count noted that the legal standard governing this issue is now before it en banc in U.S. v. Garey.