United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
ORDER REGARDING DEFENDANT'S
H. CLELAND UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
2, 2017, the court held a hearing on a motion to withdraw
filed by Defendant Darren Musico's court-appointed
attorney, Paul D. Muller. In the midst of the hearing,
Defendant Musico requested that he be allowed to represent
himself as allowed under the Sixth Amendment. See Faretta
v. California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975). The court granted
that request and now sets forth the guidelines to which
Defendant must adhere as a pro se Defendant.
Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975), the
Supreme Court “recognized a defendant's Sixth
Amendment right to conduct his own defense.”
McKaskle v. Wiggins, 465 U.S. 168, 170 (1984). When
a defendant proposes to exercise his right to represent
himself he must “knowingly and intelligently forgo
his right to counsel and . . . [be] able and willing to abide
by rules of procedure and courtroom protocol.”
Id. at 173. At the May 2, 2017, hearing this court
determined that Defendant had “knowingly and
intelligently” waived his right to counsel. The court
found, and reiterates here, that Defendant was strongly
cautioned against self-representation. He was offered the
opportunity to have a substitute counsel appointed, although
that might delay the trial. Defendant was admonished that his
review of discovery materials would very likely be difficult;
he acknowledged all cautions and reaffirmed his desire for
self-representation. Defendant was found to be sober, not
laboring under any medical disabilities or conditions nor
affected by any mental delusions; he expressed himself
cogently, properly, and politely, and the court adjudged him
competent and ready to proceed.
court finds that there is no disabling lack of communication
or disability of the part of Mr. Paul Mueller, counsel of
record over the past two years, but only a disagreement about
adjournments. Defendant expressed a lack of
“trust” in counsel but gave no reason beyond his
disagreement with the attorney's decision, on
Defendant's behalf, to continue the trial date. There is
no substantial reason that Mr. Mueller cannot adequately and
professionally represent Defendant if needs be.
court orders counsel of record to remain in place for the
purpose of standing by and being available to provide legal
assistance to Defendant upon request before trial from time
to time, and during trial out of the presence of the jury as
may be needed. In that regard, Defendant's
self-representation must be both actual and apparent from the
perspective of the jury. Defendant will be able to discuss
matters as needed during recesses; if Defendant needs an
unscheduled recess to consult, he may so request by raising
his hand and stating just “legal review” as the
reason, the court will afford a brief recess. This recess
procedure shall not be overused so as to inappropriately
disrupt the trial process.
PRINCIPLES AND CAUTIONS
court now sets forth some basic principles entailed within
the right to self-representation. “Faretta . . . and
later cases have made clear that the right of
self-representation is not absolute.” Indiana v.
Edwards, 554 U.S. 164, 171 (2008).
Dignity of the courtroom.
is instructed that “[t]he right of self-representation
is not a license to abuse the dignity of the courtroom.
Neither is it a license not to comply with relevant rules of
procedural and substantive law.” Faretta, 422
U.S. 806, 834 n.46 (1975). Further, the right “can be
lost by disruptive behavior during trial, constituting
constructive waiver” because “deliberate dilatory
or obstructive behavior may operate in effect as a waiver of
his pro se rights.” United States v.
Dougherty, 473 F.2d 1113, 1124-25 (1972). Illinois
v. Allen, 397 U.S. 337 (1970)).
Integrity of the trial process.
Faretta Court recognized, “the trial judge may
terminate self-representation by a defendant who deliberately
engages in serious and obstructionist misconduct.”
Faretta, 422 U.S. at 834 n.46 (citing
Illinois, 397 U.S. 337). “Even at the trial
level . . . the government's interest in ensuring the
integrity and efficiency of the trial at times outweighs the
defendant's interest in acting as his own lawyer.”
Martinez v. Court of Appeal of California, 528 U.S.
152, 162 (2000); see also generally Sell v. United
States, 539 U.S. 166, 180 (2003) (“[T]he
Government has a concomitant, constitutionally essential
interest in assuring that the defendant's trial is a fair
No instruction from the ...