County Court S Order Rejecting Defendant S Motion To Withdraw Plea Affirmed Appellate Court Found De
A defendant is entitled, as a matter of right to be represented by an attorney when that individual is accused of a criminal offense wherein imprisonment and/or an adjudication of guilty is possible. A defendant is entitled to represent himself in a criminal proceeding if he wants to do so. The defendant must effectively waive representation by counsel in order to represent himself. The defendant has to knowingly and voluntarily waive the right to counsel in order for the waiver to be legallyeffective. Simply put, the defendant must be aware of the right that he waiving, be aware of the effect of waiving that right & waive that right voluntarily, meaningon his own free will without coercion.
In order to determine whether the right has been effectively waived, the trial court must conduct an inquiry. The trialcourt will ask the defendant questions regarding his waiver so the trial court can determine as to whether or not the defendant's waiver was a knowing and voluntary waiver. As illustrated below, an individual can set aside a conviction if his waiver of rights was either unknowning or involuntary.
The case below is a second tier appeal. The defendant entered a plea of guilty to a DUI charge, without the assistance of of a lawyer, in the County Court. Defendant's 1st appeal was to the Circuit Court. Defendant's 2nd appeal is termed a writ of certiorari, which is a discretionary review of the Circuit Court's decision. The 2nd appeal is heard in the District Court of Appeal.
In the case of Edenfield vs. State, the district court of appeal denied thedefendant's petition for writ of certiorari in which defendant argued that his procedural due process rights had been violated because the county court failed to ascertain whether his waiver of the right to an attorney, to defend him against a DUI charge was knowing and intelligent. Before he entered a plea of no contest to the charge of DUI, the defendant, along with other defendants, watched a video which explained the constitutional rights of people accused of committing a crime, signed waiver forms, and alsotestified in court that he wanted to represent himself. After analysis applying Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975), & the relevant law in Florida the district court of appeal reached the conclusion that the county court had sufficient grounds to find a knowing and intelligent waiver of the defendant's rights under federal and state law & therefore denied the defendant's petition.
Miami, FL 33131
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