Criminal Defendant's Right to Proceed Pro Se in New York

In People v. McIntyre, 36 NY2d 10, 324 N.E.2d 322, 364 N.Y.S.2d 837 (1974), the Court of Appeals stated that a defendant in a criminal case may invoke the right to proceed pro se provided: (1) the request is unequivocal and timely asserted (2) there has been a knowing and intelligent waiver of the right to counsel; (3) the defendant has not engaged in conduct which would prevent the fair and orderly exposition of the issues. On July 9, Petitioner's attorney, who also represented him at the preliminary hearing stated that Petitioner wanted to proceed pro se and that he wanted to withdraw as counsel since he and Petitioner had their differences and that Petitioner did not have confidence in his representation and, " it has been an issue since day one." The ALJ denied the motion stating, "this case has been on since I think the first time we met Mr. Alli was back in (sic) May 8, it's now July 9 in the middle of a hearing. I am not going to relieve you." Once a trial has begun the right to proceed pro se is severely constricted, will be granted in the trial court's discretion and only in compelling circumstances. Furthermore, "when a defendant's conduct is calculated to undermine, upset or unreasonably delay the progress of the trial he forfeits his right to self representation" (McIntyre at 17-18).