California Court of Appeals, Second District, Third Division
FOR PARTIAL PUBLICATION[*]
from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County
No. BA454306, Jose I. Sandoval, Judge. Affirmed.
Mahler, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for
Defendant and Appellant.
Becerra, Attorney General, Gerald A. Engler, Chief Assistant
Attorney General, Lance E. Winters, Assistant Attorney
General, Steven D. Matthews and Chung L. Mar, Deputy
Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.
Wilson pleaded no contest to forcible rape and admitted prior
felony convictions after the trial court denied his
Faretta motion. On appeal, he contends that
the motion should have been granted and that he did not
knowingly and intelligently waive his right to a jury trial
on his priors. We reject these contentions. And, in the
published portion of this opinion, we reject his contention
that he is entitled to remand for resentencing under Senate
Bill No. 1393. Where, as here, the sentence resulted from a
negotiated plea, a defendant is not entitled to remand under
and the victim had a brief relationship. After it ended, he
forcibly entered the victim's home and raped her. An
information therefore charged Wilson with kidnapping (Pen.
Code,  § 207, subd. (a); count 1),
forcible rape in the course of a burglary (§§ 261,
subd. (a)(2), 667.61, subds. (a), (d)(4); count 2), first
degree burglary, person present (§ 459; count 3), and
assault to commit a felony during commission of a first
degree burglary (§ 220, subd. (b); count 4). On November
6, 2017, Wilson pleaded no contest to forcible rape and
admitted he had a prior strike and a prior serious felony
conviction (§ 667, subd. (a)(1)). Pursuant to the
negotiated plea, the trial court sentenced him to six years,
doubled to 12 years based on the prior strike, plus five
years for the prior serious felony, for a total of 17 years.
eve of trial, Wilson asked to represent himself. The trial
court denied the request, finding it equivocal. As we now
explain, the request was properly denied, but for another
defendant in a criminal case has a Sixth Amendment right to
represent himself or herself. (People v. Marshall
(1997) 15 Cal.4th 1, 20.) To invoke this right, the defendant
must unequivocally assert it within a reasonable time before
trial (People v. Windham (1977) 19 Cal.3d 121,
127-128), and the request must be knowing and voluntary
(People v. Doolin (2009) 45 Cal.4th 390, 453). A
timely, unequivocal request for self-representation must be
granted, no matter how unwise the request. (Windham,
at p. 128.) Otherwise, untimely requests for
self-representation are addressed to the trial court's
sound discretion. (Id. at pp. 127-129.) Also, an
equivocal request must be distinguished from a conditional
one. A conditional request is one, for example, where the
defendant asks that counsel be removed and, if not removed,
that the defendant wants to represent himself. (People v.
Michaels (2002) 28 Cal.4th 486, 524.) Such a request is
not equivocal. (Ibid.) To evaluate whether a trial
court erred by denying a Faretta request, we look at
the defendant's words and conduct to determine whether
the defendant really wanted to give up the right to counsel.
(Marshall, at pp. 25-26.)
Wilson's words and conduct were clear that if he did not
get a different counsel, then he wanted to represent himself.
On the day set for trial, Wilson made a
Marsden motion, which was
denied. He then asked to represent himself.
The trial court advised Wilson of the felony charges against
him, that he faced three different strikes and two life
counts, and that self-representation was a bad decision. When
the trial court asked Wilson if he really did not want help
to understand the technical and sophisticated legal
principles, Wilson said, “It's not what I wish but,
” “I wish I had counsel that I believe is going
to fight on my behalf.” The trial court found the
request to be equivocal: “It has to be unequivocal.
It's clear to me you want counsel. It's clear you
need counsel. And this is in response to a[n] adverse ruling
in another motion, sir.”
then asked if he could have cocounsel, and the trial court
told him no, this was not a way to get a different lawyer.
Wilson replied, “What I'm saying-I don't need a
lawyer to represent me. A standby lawyer-I don't need
somebody that's going-” At that point, the trial
court interrupted Wilson and asked why he needed a standby
lawyer. Wilson said, “just in case if I have a
question.” When the trial court explained that this was
not how a standby lawyer works, Wilson said he did not need
counsel, then. The trial court repeated that the request was
equivocal, and that Wilson was trying to get another lawyer,
recognizing he needed representation. Wilson repeated he
didn't need another counsel. He said, “I'm not
asking for another counsel. You said this is my decision.
[¶]... [¶]... This is not-this is not what I want
to do, but my counsel that's representing me left me no
choice. I'm going in blind, not knowing what's going
on, your Honor.” This, the trial court responded, was
exactly the equivocation that made it clear Wilson did not
want to represent himself. The trial court therefore denied
the Faretta request.
demonstrates, Wilson's dissatisfaction with his counsel
prompted his Faretta request. But, a clearly stated
Faretta request motivated by dissatisfaction with
counsel is not equivocal. (Moon v. Superior Court
(2005) 134 Cal.App.4th 1521, 1529-1530.) In People v.
Weeks (2008) 165 Cal.App.4th 882, for example, a public
defender represented the defendant. The defendant then was
permitted to go pro se. After several months, the defendant
asked if his standby counsel could take over but was told
that if he lost his pro per status the original public
defender would be reappointed. The defendant made it clear
that if he had to choose between remaining in propria persona
or being represented by his original public defender, then he
would choose the former. (Id. at p. 885.) Finding
the defendant's position to be equivocal, the trial court
revoked his status and reappointed the original public