CRIMINAL PROCEDURE – Faretta colloquy, waiver of counsel: Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Richard Wayne Terry (SC 8/27/2009)

 Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Richard Wayne Terry
2007-SC-000796-DG August 27, 2009
Opinion by Justice Noble. All sitting; all concur.

On the day of his trial on drug charges, defendant asked the trial court for permission to represent himself and expressed his dissatisfaction with his court-appointed attorney. The trial court granted the request without a Faretta colloquy or otherwise making a finding of fact that the defendant’s waiver of counsel was knowing, voluntary and intelligent. The defendant’s subsequent conviction was reversed by the Court of Appeals.

The Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals, re-emphasizing that trial courts must comply with Faretta. While repeating that there are no “magic words” or standardized litany that courts must use, the Supreme Court noted with approval a list of 15 model Faretta hearing questions used in federal courts.

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