What Is a Faretta Motion ?

"In Faretta v. California (1975) 422 U.S. 806, the United States Supreme Court held that a defendant in a state criminal prosecution has a constitutional right under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to waive counsel and represent himself." (People v. Nauton (1994) 29 Cal.App.4th 976, 979.) A defendant may waive his right to representation by counsel and represent himself. In waiving the right to counsel the defendant relinquishes "many of the traditional benefits associated with the right to counsel." (Faretta v. California, supra, 422 U.S. at p. 835.) "For this reason a knowing and intelligent waiver of the right to counsel is required before a criminal defendant is permitted to represent himself or herself." (People v. Noriega (1997) 59 Cal.App.4th 311, 319.) "A defendant seeking self-representation 'should be made aware of the dangers and disadvantages of self-representation, so that the record will establish that "he knows what he is doing and his choice is made with eyes open."' The test of a valid waiver of counsel is not whether specific warnings or advisements were given but whether the record as a whole demonstrates that the defendant understood the disadvantages of self-representation, including the risks and complexities of the particular case. " (People v. Bloom (1989) 48 Cal.3d 1194, 1224-1225.) The court must satisfy itself that the waiver is knowing and voluntary and that the defendant is competent to waive counsel. (Godinez v. Moran (1993) 509 U.S. 389, 400.) "A defendant may challenge the grant of a motion for self-representation on the basis that the record fails to show that the defendant was made aware of the risks of self-representation." (People v. Bloom, supra, 48 Cal.3d at p. 1224.)