LB - Home Furnishings Direct 0519

Home | Classifieds | Place Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Kudos | Obits | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | Villager | Health Directory | Contact Us
The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : state May 29, 2016

6/13/2014 3:36:00 PM
Court: Accused can represent herself all the way to Supreme Court

Howard Fischer
Capitol Media Services

PHOENIX -- Arizonans have a constitutional right to defend themselves against criminal charges, not just at trial but all the way up to the state Supreme Court, the justices ruled Friday.

The high court rejected arguments by the state Attorney General's Office that the right to represent oneself applies only to the actual trial. Lawyers for the state argued that someone who is convicted can appeal only with the help of an attorney.

But Justice Scott Bales, writing for the unanimous court, said that interpretation runs afoul of a state constitutional provision giving individuals the "right to appear and defend in person.' Bales said there is nothing in that section limiting it to trial.

Potentially more significant, Bales said that interpreting the law the way the Attorney General's Office proposes actually would deny the right to appeal to criminal defendants who either could afford their own attorney or were appointed counsel but prefer to pursue the case on their own.

The Attorney General' Office did not immediately respond to a request for a comment.

This case involves Lashuana Coleman, placed on probation in last year following her conviction on a charge of disorderly conduct. She had been represented by appointed counsel.

Coleman eventually filed a notice of appeal on her own, even after her appointed attorney told her that was not an option.

The judges of the state Court of Appeals rejected her appeal, saying she has no constitutional right to represent herself before them. So the Maricopa County Public Defender agreed to argue on her behalf to the Supreme Court that she should be given that right.

Bales acknowledged there is no federal constitutional right to self-representation on appeal.

But he and his colleagues said the Arizona Constitution provides broader protections in state court proceedings. And Bales said Coleman is entitled to demand that right.

"The state's reading effectively would rewrite the constitution to state, 'the accused shall have the right to appeal in all cases if represented.' Bales said that would undermine the whole concept of an appeal which is important to ensure that the correct verdict was reached at trial'

"Nothing suggests the framers intended to limit the right to appeal to represented defendants,' he wrote.

Friday's ruling is not an absolute victory for Coleman.

Bales noted that notices of appeal are supposed to be filed within 30 days; her request came 55 days after the conviction.

But appellate court judges have the power to waive that deadline. So the Supreme Court sent the case back to them to decide whether to let her go ahead anyway.

    Most Viewed     Recently Commented
•   Man trapped in wrecked vehicle for three days on Mingus Mountain (8067 views)

•   Marana man suffers skull injury, brain bleed following ATV crash (3511 views)

•   Blaze erupts from panel van at gas station (2619 views)

•   Man arrested on numerous charges after crashing stolen motorcycle (2576 views)

•   Smoke on the mountain, where lighting struck repeatedly (1877 views)

Reader Comments

Posted: Saturday, June 14, 2014
Article comment by: ...and Justice for All...if you got money?

State Supremes say you have constitutional
right to defend yourselves. Our court systems
(fed, state, local) have a 'nick-name' for folks
who try to use the court without a lawyer...they
will call you a "pro-se".

The real life situation ...the courts will most likely
will not be fully "friendly" toward pro-se people.

Now if you come to court with a fat wallop of
money so you can pay all the court fees and
expensive might get what you you rich or poor you did NOT
receive JUSTICE.

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to Facebook character limits. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
HSE - Father Son Look a Like Contest
HSE - Readers Choice 300x100
Find more about Weather in Cottonwood, AZ
Click for weather forecast

Submission Links
 •  Submit your feedback about our site

Find It Features Blogs Celebrate Submit Extras Other Publications Local Listings
Classifieds | Place Ad | Galleries | Kudos | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | e-News | RSS | Site Map | Find Verde Jobs | Contact Us
LB - Yavapai College 0523 Industrial Machine 728x90

© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Verde Independent is the information source for Cottonwood and Verde Valley area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Western News&Info, Inc.® Verde News Online is a service of WNI. By using the Site, ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Verde News Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved