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United States of America v. Randy Duane Black

United States District Court Northern District of California

March 7, 2013


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kandis A. Westmore United States Magistrate Judge


On March 6, 2013, the Court held a Faretta hearing in this case. Defendant Randy Duane District Court Black was present and responded to the Court's questions. Attorney Paul Wolf was present to 14 assist Defendant and to answer his questions. The Court asked Defendant questions about his mental and emotional health. He stated 16 that he had never been diagnosed with any mental or emotional problems, and had never received 17 treatment of any kind for such problems. Based on his responses to the questions, there is no 18 basis for concluding that he is mentally or emotionally impaired such that he is unable to 19 represent himself. Defendant stated that he was not under the influence of any medication, drugs 20 or alcohol, and that no one had made any threat or promise to get him to waive his right to 21 counsel. Based on these facts, the Court finds that Defendant is competent to make a decision 22 regarding whether to waive his right to counsel.

The Court advised Defendant that it was very unwise for him to represent himself.

Defendant was advised of the nature of the charges against him, as well as the maximum penalties 25 he would face if he were convicted. Mr. Wolf explained to Defendant that he might face charges 26 in state court for three new crimes, and that his representation of himself in this case could 27 compromise his defense in those cases. 28

The Court explained to Defendant that he faced significant obstacles and disadvantages in 2 trying to represent himself. He would be expected to follow the Federal Rules of Evidence, the 3

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and the Local Rules of the Court, which are technical, complex 4 and difficult to apply. The Court told Defendant that the rules would not be relaxed for his 5 benefit, and that if he did not conduct his defense according to the rules, his defense might be 6 severely hampered. Defendant might make serious errors in presenting his evidence or fail to 7 object to evidence put on by the prosecutor, simply because of his lack of legal training and 8 experience. The Court further explained that it would not guide him through the proceedings, and 9 would not give him any assistance if he made mistakes. The Court informed Defendant that he 10 had a right to remain silent, which could be seriously compromised if he was to serve as his own 11 lawyer. Finally, the Court told Defendant that he might lack the objectivity necessary to present an effective defense. 13

Next, the Court explained to Defendant that, even though he had no right to have stand-by 12 14 or advisory counsel appointed, the District Judge in this case could appoint an attorney to protect 15 the Court's interest in fair and orderly proceedings, even over Defendant's objection. 16 Throughout the hearing, the Court asked Defendant if he understood what was being said 17 about the consequences of self-representation, and he repeatedly responded that he understood.

After having fully explained the consequences of and expectations regarding self-representation, 19 and making sure that Defendant understood everything that had been explained, the Court asked 20 Defendant whether he wished to freely and voluntarily waive his right to be represented by a 21 lawyer. He responded in the affirmative. 22 The Court finds that Defendant's waiver is knowing, intelligent and voluntary; 23 unequivocal; timely; and not made for the purpose of delay. 24 If Defendant still wishes to represent himself, he shall file a motion to proceed pro se 25 before the District Judge. Therefore, it is hereby ORDERED that the Court's March 6, 2013 26 Order Granting Defendant's Request to Represent Himself is hereby VACATED.

It is further ORDERED that attorney Paul Wolf is appointed to represent Defendant unless and until the District Judge grants Defendant's motion to proceed pro se.


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