Wednesday, February 08, 2006

First win of the year.

First (published) win of 2006 for the ADO came last Friday. Michelle Davis won reversal of attempted-first degree and attempted-second degree murder convictions in State v. Vann, No. 91,211 (Kan. Feb. 3, 2006). The KSC found two errors: failure to consider Mr. Vann's request for substitute counsel and failure to allow Mr. Vann to represent himself. The district court would not consider Mr. Vann's pro se motions regarding his attorney and possible desire to represent himself. On the first issue, the KSC held that the district court had sufficient notice of Mr. Vann's dissatisfiaction with his attorney to require further inquiry into the possible conflict. Mr. Vann also requested to represent himself. The COA had held that his request was insufficient because Mr. Vann had not served the request, requested a hearing, or raised the matter in pre-trial motions, constituting waiver. The KSC disagreed holding that Mr. Vann's written motion was clear and unequivocal. Mr. Vann was not required to continue to reassert the right to self-representation--the attorneys and district court were on notice and failed to act on the request. Faretta error is structural error and, therefore, the KSC reversed the convictions and remanded for new trial.

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