Defendant Argued That His Lawyer Did Not Provide Information About His Own Defense
In State v. Williams, 334 N.C. 440, 454, 434 S.E.2d 588, 596 (1993), the defendant indicated that his lawyers had not communicated with him regarding the specifics of his case, and had not provided him information he needed to assist in his own defense.
The trial judge provided him the option to either continue with appointed counsel or represent himself.
Provided those choices the defendant responded "you stated that, that there is no other way that I could have no other lawyers . . . But what if I choose to represent myself?" the judge then questioned the defendant on his ability to conduct his own defense, and advised defendant against self-representation.
The defendant replied "I choose to represent myself." Williams, 334 N.C. at 452, 434 S.E.2d at 595.
In the following session the judge again asked defendant if he wished to represent himself and the defendant again replied that he did.
The defendant then went on to express his dissatisfaction with his appointed counsel. Id. at 453, 434 S.E.2d at 595-96.
The Court held that the defendant had not clearly and unequivocally requested to proceed pro se even though defendant had twice specifically stated "I choose to represent myself."
The Court held "when this request is viewed in the context of his other statements, it is apparent that defendant's primary desire was to ensure adequate representation by counsel, and that he never took a firm position on whether to proceed pro se." Id. at 456, 434 S.E.2d at 597.
The Court did not hold that defendant initially made a clear and unequivocal statement requesting to proceed pro se, and later withdrew his earlier request.
The Court held that defendant's conduct over two sessions of the trial was not clear and unequivocal despite his statements during the first session.