Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals - Published Opinions

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Garey: Rejection of Appointed Counsel can voluntarily choose pro se representation

In U.S. v. Garey, No. 05-14631 (Aug. 20, 2008) (en banc), the Court, overruling its precedent in Marshall v. Dugger, 925 F.2d 373 (11th Cir. 1991), held that a defendant waived his right to counsel, even though he did not clearly request to represent himself, when the defendant rejected the only counsel to which he was constitutionally entitled, understanding that his only alternative was self-representation, with its many attendant dangers.
The Court noted that, when the defendant announced that he did not want to continue being represented by appointed counsel because of a conflict, the district court denied the defendant’s motion for substitution of counsel, and set before the defendant two constitutionally permissible choices: continued representation by prior counsel, or self-representation. The district court gave "multiple warnings" about self-representation. "By rejecting appointed counsel, Garey voluntarily chose to proceed pro se as surely as if he had made a request to do so."