Carroll v. State, A-13749

CourtCourt of Appeals of Alaska
Writing for the CourtHARBISON JUDGE
PartiesNATHAN ERIC CARROLL, Appellant, v. STATE OF ALASKA, Appellee.
Docket NumberA-13749
Decision Date31 August 2022



No. A-13749

Court of Appeals of Alaska

August 31, 2022

UNPUBLISHED See Alaska Appellate Rule 214(d)

Appeal from the Superior Court, Fourth Judicial District Trial Court No. 4FA-15-02647 CR, Fairbanks, Douglas L. Blankenship, Judge.

Marjorie E. Mock, Attorney at Law, under contract with the Public Defender Agency, and Samantha Cherot, Public Defender, Anchorage, for the Appellant.

Seneca Theno Freitag, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Criminal Appeals, Anchorage, and Treg R. Taylor, Attorney General, Juneau, for the Appellee.

Before: Allard, Chief Judge, and Harbison and Terrell, Judges.



Following a jury trial, Nathan Eric Carroll was convicted of second-degree assault.[1] Although the superior court entered an order granting Carroll's request to


represent himself, it revoked this order seven days later and required Carroll to be represented by an attorney. At the second hearing, the court found that Carroll was "not competent to represent [himself]" because (1) Carroll declined the court's offer to allow him to wear "street clothes" rather than clothing identifying him as an inmate, and (2) Carroll was claiming self-defense, which made the case, in the court's mind, "a little bit more complex."

On appeal, Carroll argues that the superior court erred when it denied his right to self-representation. He contends that the court did not conduct an adequate inquiry into Carroll's competency to self-represent and that the record does not support the court's finding that Carroll was incapable of representing himself. The State concedes error, noting that the record is "completely devoid of any conduct by Carroll in the intervening seven days . . . that justifies the court's reversal" of its initial order allowing Carroll to represent himself.

After independently reviewing the record, we conclude that the State's concession is well-founded.[2]

A criminal defendant's right to self-representation is protected by the United States and Alaska Constitutions.[3] The Alaska Supreme Court has explained that the following procedure must be followed when considering a defendant's request for self-representation: First, the trial court should decide whether the defendant is "capable of presenting [their case] in a rational and coherent manner." Second, the court should determine whether the defendant "understands precisely...

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