United States District Court, C.D. California
PRESENT: HONORABLE CHRISTINA A. SNYDER JUDGE
ORDER RE: DEFENDANT’S PRO SE STATUS
HONORABLE CHRISTINA A. SNYDER JUDGE
April 4, 2016, on the eve of trial, the Court conducted a
Faretta hearing and granted defendant’s
request to proceed pro se. Dkt. 113. Over the
government’s objection, the Court also granted
defendant’s request for a continuance, thereby
continuing the trial from April 5, 2016 to July 19, 2016.
Id. In addition, the Court advised defendant’s
counsel at the time, attorney Andrew Cowan, that he was to
remain prepared to assist defendant as standby counsel and
further remain prepared to step-in as counsel of record,
should defendant’s pro se status later be
revoked. See Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806,
834 n.46 (1975) (“Of course, a State may-even over
objection by the accused-appoint a ‘standby
counsel’ to aid the accused if and when the accused
requests help, and to be available to represent the accused
in the event that termination of the defendant's
self-representation is necessary.”) (citation omitted).
A motions deadline was set for June 20, 2016, and a pre-trial
conference was set for July 11, 2016, at 1:30 p.m.
11, 2016, defendant, proceeding pro se, appeared by
telephone at the pretrial conference and requested an
additional continuance of the trial date. For reasons stated
on the record, the Court indicated that it would deny
defendant’s request. On July 11, 2016, defendant also
filed an ex parte application, see dkt.
118, which the Court, in an order dated July 14, 2016,
granted in part and denied in part, see dkt. 121.
Specifically, the Court granted defendant’s request
that a subpoena be issued, and further granted
defendant’s request that up to $2, 000 in CJA funds be
allocated for the retention of consulting services. See
id. However, the Court denied defendant’s request
for a continuance of the trial, explaining that
[t]rial in this matter has already been continued numerous
times, most recently at defendant’s request (on the eve
of the previously-scheduled trial date of April 5, 2016),
following defendant’s request to proceed in pro per.
Furthermore, defendant was released on bond in October 2015
and appears to have had access to the discovery in this
matter since before a previously-scheduled August 2015 trial
Id. at 2.
20, 2016, defendant filed a separate civil action, Taquan
Rahshe Gullett-El v. Christina A. Snyder, et al., Case
No. 2:16-cv-05391-JFW-AJW (“the civil action”),
which named the undersigned as a defendant. Initially, the
civil action was assigned to the undersigned judge; however,
the undersigned recused herself on account of having been
named as a defendant in the civil action. Dkt. 3 (Order to
Reassign Case Due to Self-Recusal Pursuant to General Order
14-03). The case was then reassigned to Judge John F. Walter.
Id. On July 23, 2016, three days before the
scheduled trial in this matter, defendant, proceeding pro
se, filed a request to continue the trial date so as to
allow “additional time to pursue adjudication in Civil
Matter 2:16-cv-05391-JFW-AJW by which he may assert his
Affirmative Defenses to the [instant criminal case.]”
Dkt. 126. On July 23, 2016, defendant also filed a
“Petition for Recusal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 144
and 38 U.S.C. §455.” Dkt. 125. Defendant’s
Petition for Recusal appeared to be based, in part, upon
defendant’s filing of the civil action. On July 25,
2016, Judge Otis D. Wright, II denied defendant’s
“Petition for Recusal.” Dkt. 131.
26, 2016, the date on which trial was set to begin in this
matter, defendant, proceeding pro se, appeared
before the Court along with standby counsel Andrew Cowan.
Defendant indicated that he did not believe that he was
prepared to begin trial proceeding pro se and would
need at least an additional three months to prepare his
defense. For reasons stated more fully on the record, the
Court indicated that it would not grant an additional
continuance of the trial date. See also United States v.
Brewster, 387 Fed. App’x 763, 765 (9th Cir. 2010)
(“We review a district court’s denial of a pro se
defendant’s motion to continue for an abuse of
discretion, United States v. Garrett, 179 F.3d 1143,
1144-45 (9th Cir. 1999), and ‘find an abuse of
discretion only where the denial was “arbitrary and
unreasonable.” ’ United States v. Sarno,
73 F.3d 1470, 1492 (9th Cir. 1995) (citation
omitted)”). Defendant stated that absent a further
continuance of at least three months, he would be unprepared
to proceed to trial pro se. In light of, inter
alia, defendant’s self-professed unpreparedness
for trial, the Court suggested that defendant’s standby
counsel, Andrew Cowan--who had been prepared to represent
defendant on the eve of the previously-scheduled trial date
of April 5, 2016-be appointed counsel of record. Defendant,
who had indicated his unfamiliarity with many of the relevant
rules and procedures governing trial, did not object to
revocation of his pro se status and appeared
amenable to appointment of Mr. Cowan as counsel of record.
Accordingly, as stated more fully on the record, the Court
revoked defendant’s pro se status and
appointed attorney Andrew Cowan as counsel of record.
accordance with the foregoing, defendant’s request for
an additional continuance of the trial date, dkt. 126, is
DENIED, and defendant’s standby counsel, attorney