28 F.3d 859 (8th Cir. 1994), 93-2700, Hamilton v. Groose

Docket Nº:93-2700.
Citation:28 F.3d 859
Party Name:Fred A. HAMILTON, Appellant, v. Michael GROOSE, Appellee.
Case Date:July 06, 1994
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
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Page 859

28 F.3d 859 (8th Cir. 1994)

Fred A. HAMILTON, Appellant,

v.

Michael GROOSE, Appellee.

No. 93-2700.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

July 6, 1994

Submitted Feb. 18, 1994.

Rehearing and Suggestion for Rehearing En Banc Denied Aug. 24, 1994.

Page 860

Curtis Blood, Collinsville, IL, argued, for appellant.

Stephen Hawke, Jefferson City, MO, argued (Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixon and Stephen D. Hawke, on the brief), for appellee.

Before BOWMAN, HANSEN, and MORRIS S. ARNOLD, Circuit Judges.

BOWMAN, Circuit Judge.

Fred A. Hamilton appeals the District Court's 1 denial of his petition under 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2254 for a writ of habeas corpus. We affirm.

I.

In 1985, Hamilton abducted a seventeen-year-old girl as she walked to school and raped her five times. In 1987, a jury heard the state's evidence of Hamilton's conduct and convicted him of five counts of rape and one count of kidnapping. Hamilton, as a prior and persistent sexual offender, was sentenced to serve 165 years in prison (30 years for each rape, 15 years for the kidnapping).

Hamilton appealed to the Missouri Court of Appeals. While his appeal was pending, he also sought postconviction relief pursuant to Missouri Supreme Court Rule 29.15. The motion court held an evidentiary hearing, then denied Hamilton's Rule 29.15 motion. Hamilton's direct appeal and his appeal from the denial of Rule 29.15 relief were consolidated, and the Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed his convictions and sentence and the denial of postconviction relief. State v. Hamilton, 791 S.W.2d 789 (Mo.Ct.App.1990).

Next, Hamilton filed in the District Court a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. Hamilton alleged in his petition fourteen grounds for relief. The District Court found he was not entitled to federal habeas relief on any of these grounds. Only one ground, that he was denied his Sixth Amendment right to represent himself, is renewed on appeal in the brief filed by Hamilton's appointed counsel. We affirm. 2

II.

Having succeeded in having an earlier public defender removed from his case, Hamilton was to be represented at trial by public defender Jeff Childress. Prior to trial, Hamilton filed a motion to have Childress relieved of his responsibilities and replaced by still another appointed counsel.

The trial judge engaged in a lengthy discussion with Hamilton regarding his motion:

The Court: All right. We are going to take these [motions made by Hamilton without Childress's assistance] up in some logical sequence. Your first one is this filed in proceeding Forma Pauperis. Do you understand where you are at now in this proceeding?

Hamilton: Yes, Your Honor. What I was doing then was trying to get Mr. Childress removed from my case because of several errors.

The Court: Can you speak a little louder?

Hamilton: In the event that I could not be appointed another counsel to represent me, I would like to proceed in the forma

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pauperis instead of having Mr. Childress represent me.

...

The Court: Let me ask you this, I am not trying to confuse you. I am trying to enlighten myself. Let me see if I follow this.

I think what you are saying in this one motion was that you wanted to proceed as a poor person. You know you are so proceeding?

Hamilton: Yes, sir.

The Court: But what you really intend to tell the Court is you want it to permit yourself to go ahead and represent yourself if you didn't get another counsel?

Hamilton: If I could not be appointed...

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