Self Representation Motion In California

In People v. Windham (1977) 19 Cal. 3d 121, at page 128, 137 Cal. Rptr. 8, 560 P.2d 1187, the court noted that Faretta applies to California criminal proceedings: "When a motion to proceed pro se is timely interposed, a trial court must permit a defendant to represent himself upon ascertaining that he has voluntarily and intelligently elected to do so, irrespective of how unwise such a choice might appear to be." A defendant's motion for self-representation is timely if it is unequivocally asserted "within a reasonable time prior to the commencement of trial." The court noted: "For example, a defendant should not be permitted to wait until the day preceding trial before he moves to represent himself and requests a continuance in order to prepare for trial without some showing of reasonable cause for the lateness of the request." (19 Cal. 3d at p. 128, fn. 5.) In People v. Burton (1989) 48 Cal. 3d 843, at page 852, 258 Cal. Rptr. 184, 771 P.2d 1270, the court stated: "The 'reasonable time' requirement is intended to prevent the defendant from misusing the self-representation motion to unjustifiably delay trial or obstruct the orderly administration of justice." In People v. Windham, supra, 19 Cal. 3d 121, the court stated that a self-representation motion is timely if it is asserted "within a reasonable time prior to the commencement of trial." (Id. at p. 128; People v. Jenkins, supra, 22 Cal. 4th at p. 959.) Windham noted that the timeliness requirement was intended to preclude defendants from misusing the Faretta self-representation right to unjustifiably delay a scheduled trial or to obstruct the orderly administration of justice. (Windham, supra, at p. 128, fn. 5.) The court exemplified misuse by stating that a Faretta motion made the day before trial in conjunction with a request for a continuance of the trial ordinarily would be considered an untimely motion. (Ibid.)