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State v. Hayne

Court of Appeals of Oregon

August 15, 2018

STATE OF OREGON, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
OLE MARVIN HAYNE, Defendant-Appellant.

          Argued and submitted May 18, 2017

          Clatsop County Circuit Court 131263, 14CR06472; Philip L. Nelson, Judge.

          David O. Ferry, Deputy Public Defender, argued the cause for appellant. Also on the brief was Ernest G. Lannet, Chief Defender, Criminal Appellate Section, Offce of Public Defense Services.

          Patrick M. Ebbett, Assistant Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent. Also on the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General.

          Before Ortega, Presiding Judge, and Egan, Chief Judge, and Lagesen, Judge. [*]

         [293 Or.App. 352] Case Summary:

         In this consolidated criminal appeal, defendant challenges his 17 convictions and sentence of 348 months' incarceration. The principal question presented in this appeal is how, if at all, the United States Supreme Court's decision in Indiana v. Edwards, 554 U.S. 164, 128 S.Ct. 2379, 171 L.Ed.2d 345 (2008), bears on the inquiry an Oregon court may conduct when considering whether to grant a mentally ill criminal defendant's request to exercise the right to self-representation. The issue arises in this case because the trial court allowed defendant, who suffers from severe mental illness but was competent both to stand trial and to waive counsel, to represent himself at trial. Held: An Oregon court considering a mentally ill defendant's request to proceed without counsel may take into account whether, as a result of severe mental illness, the defendant lacks the ability “to carry out the basic tasks needed to present [one's] own defense without the help of counsel, ” and may deny the request if the answer to that question is yes. Edwards, 554 U.S. at 175-76, 178. The trial court here erroneously failed to recognize the existence of that discretion and that error had some likelihood of affecting the jury's verdict.

         Reversed and remanded.

          [293 Or.App. 353] LAGESEN, J.

         The principal question presented in this appeal is how, if at all, the United States Supreme Court's decision in Indiana v. Edwards, 554 U.S. 164, 178, 128 S.Ct. 2379, 171 L.Ed.2d 345 (2008), bears on the inquiry an Oregon court may conduct when considering whether to grant a mentally ill criminal defendant's request to exercise the right to self-representation. In Edwards, the Court held that the federal "Constitution permits States to insist upon representation by counsel for those competent enough to stand trial *** but who still suffer from severe mental illness to the point where they are not competent to conduct trial proceedings by themselves." Id. The issue arises in this case because the trial court allowed defendant, who suffers from severe mental illness but was competent both to stand trial and to waive counsel, [1] to represent himself at trial. Defendant was convicted on all 17 charges against him. The trial court sentenced defendant to a total of 348 months' incarceration.

         On appeal, defendant asserts that, in allowing him to represent himself, the trial court failed to recognize the discretion that it had under Edwards to deny his request to represent himself at trial if the court found that defendant's mental illness rendered him incompetent to conduct trial proceedings on his own. Defendant contends that the trial court's failure to recognize that it had discretion to insist that defendant proceed to trial with counsel constitutes reversible error. Defendant also raises seven additional assignments of error that are, by and large, unpreserved. Those assignments of error challenge the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his convictions and the trial court's decision to impose consecutive sentences on certain counts.

         The state responds that defendant's Edwards assignment of error is unpreserved and is not susceptible to correction as plain error. The state also asserts that Oregon law precludes a trial court from denying a mentally ill criminal defendant's request to proceed without counsel even [293 Or.App. 354] where the defendant's mental illness renders the defendant unable to conduct the basic tasks of the defense. The state urges us to reject the balance of defendant's assignments of error, primarily on the ground that they are not preserved and the identified errors are either (1) not errors at all; (2) not plain errors, if errors; or (3) not the sort of plain errors that we should exercise our discretion to correct.

         We reject all but defendant's Edwards assignment of error without further written discussion. As to that assignment of error, we conclude that it is preserved and that, consistent with Edwards, an Oregon court considering a mentally ill defendant's request to proceed without counsel may take into account whether, as a result of severe mental illness, the defendant lacks the ability "to carry out the basic tasks needed to present [one's] own defense without the help of counsel," and may deny the request if the answer to that question is yes. Edwards, 554 U.S. at 175-76, 178 (defining what it means to be competent to represent oneself at trial and identifying circumstances in which a court can decline a request to proceed to trial without counsel). Because the trial court here erroneously failed to recognize the existence of that discretion and because that error had some likelihood of affecting the jury's verdict, we reverse and remand.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Legal Framework

         Article I, section 11, of the Oregon Constitution and the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution each afford a criminal defendant the right of self-representation. State v. Hightower, 361 Or. 412, 393 P.3d 224 (2017) (identifying Article I, section 11, right of self-representation); Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806, 95 S.Ct. 2525, 45 L.Ed.2d 562 (1975) (identifying Sixth Amendment right of self-representation). The right of self-representation is "not absolute and unqualified." Hightower, 361 Or. at 417. A court may, consonant with Article I, section 11, decline to permit a criminal defendant to proceed without counsel if the defendant's exercise of the right of self-representation conflicts with the trial court's "overriding obligation to ensure the fairness and integrity of the trial and its inherent authority to conduct proceedings in an orderly and expeditious manner." Id. at 417-18. The [293 Or.App. 355] Sixth Amendment gives courts a similar range of discretion when addressing a defendant's request to exercise the right of self-representation. Edwards, 554 U.S. at 171.

         The Oregon appellate courts have not considered whether and when concerns related to a criminal defendant's mental illness permit a trial court to deny the defendant's request to proceed without counsel when the defendant is competent to stand trial but may not be competent to act as his or her own lawyer. As noted, the United States Supreme Court has.

         In Edwards, the Court considered whether, and under what circumstances, mental illness-related concerns would permit a trial court to deny a criminal defendant's request to proceed without counsel when the defendant was otherwise competent to stand trial and to waive the right to counsel under the competency standard set by Dusky v. United States, 362 U.S. 402, 80 S.Ct. 788, 4 L.Ed.2d 824 (I960).[2] Edwards, 554 U.S. at 174. The Court held that a trial court permissibly could "insist upon representation by counsel for those competent enough to stand trial under Dusky but who still suffer from severe mental illness to the point where they are not competent to conduct trial proceedings by themselves." Id. at 178.

         The Court reasoned that the fact that a mentally ill person is competent to stand trial with the assistance of counsel does not necessarily mean that the same person is competent to conduct the basic tasks of putting on a defense without the assistance of counsel, noting that the legal standards for determining whether a defendant is competent to stand trial are predicated on the assumption that the defendant will be assisted by counsel. Id. at 173, 174-75. The Court noted that, in Massey v. Moore, 348 U.S. 105, 108, 75 S.Ct. 145, 99 L.Ed. 135 (1954), it previously had observed that "[o]ne might not be insane in the sense of being incapable of [293 Or.App. 356] standing trial and yet lack the capacity to stand trial without the benefit of counsel." Id. at 173.

         The Court also observed that the nature of mental illness itself counseled in favor of a legal standard that recognizes that a person who is competent to stand trial may not be competent to conduct a defense without the assistance of counsel: "[M]ental illness itself is not a unitary concept. It varies in degree. It can vary over time. It interferes with an individual's functioning at different times in different ways." Id. at 175. As a result, a person with a mental illness who has the capacity to ...


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