Cox v. State, No. A12A1096.

CourtGeorgia Court of Appeals
Writing for the CourtPHIPPS
Citation317 Ga.App. 654,732 S.E.2d 321
Docket NumberNo. A12A1096.
Decision Date21 September 2012
PartiesCOX v. The STATE.

317 Ga.App. 654
732 S.E.2d 321

COX
v.
The STATE.

No. A12A1096.

Court of Appeals of Georgia.

Sept. 21, 2012.


[732 S.E.2d 322]


Deborah Rachelle Fluker, for appellant.

Daniel J. Porter, Dist. Atty., Lawrenceville, Jennifer Marie Taylor, Asst. Dist. Atty., for appellee.


PHIPPS, Presiding Judge.

[317 Ga.App. 654]After a bench trial in which he represented himself, Elree Cox was convicted of three counts of aggravated assault, two counts of terroristic threats, and one count of false imprisonment. He appeals, asserting that his waiver of the right to be represented at trial by counsel was not knowing and intelligent. Because the trial court did not abuse its discretion in finding that Cox's waiver of the right to counsel was valid, we affirm.

Cox contends that he did not knowingly and intelligently waive his right to counsel because he “was not sufficiently made aware of the inherent dangers of self-representation at trial.”

A criminal defendant facing imprisonment has a Sixth Amendment right to assistance of counsel at trial, but the defendant also has a fundamental right to represent himself when he voluntarily and intelligently elects to do so. The determination of whether there has been an intelligent waiver of the right to counsel must depend ... upon the particular facts and circumstances surrounding that case, including the background, experience, and conduct of the accused. The trial judge has the serious and weighty responsibility of determining

[732 S.E.2d 323]

whether the accused has intelligently waived his right to counsel.1

The trial court's ruling as to whether the defendant's waiver of the right to counsel was valid is reviewed for abuse of discretion.2


In order to determine whether a defendant has validly waived his right to an attorney, this Court generally inquires into whether the trial court has advised the defendant of (1) the nature of the charges against him, (2) any statutory lesser included offenses, (3) the range of possible punishments for the charges, (4) possible defenses, (5) mitigating circumstances, and (6) any other facts necessary for a broad understanding of the matter.3

[317 Ga.App. 655]The trial court is not required to address each of these points with the defendant; “[r]ather, the record need only reflect that the accused was made aware of the dangers of self-representation and nevertheless made a knowing and intelligent waiver.” 4 The trial court “must apprise the defendant of the dangers and disadvantages inherent in representing himself so that the record will establish that he knows what he is doing and his choice is made with eyes open.” 5 The court is not required to probe the defendant's case and advise him as to legal strategies to ensure that a waiver is intelligently made.6 Whether the defendant has technical legal knowledge is irrelevant to the validity of the waiver, as “[t]he test is not whether the accused is capable of good lawyering—but whether he knowingly and intelligently waives his right to counsel.” 7 “The state has the burden of demonstrating that the defendant received sufficient information and guidance from the trial court to make a knowing and intelligent waiver” of the right to counsel.8

At a pre-trial hearing, Cox's counsel informed the trial court that Cox had expressed his desire to represent himself at trial and to have counsel assist him in a “standby” capacity, and that defense counsel had discussed the matter at length with Cox, cautioning him about self-representation.

The court asked Cox whether it was his desire to represent himself. Cox replied that it was. The court then counseled Cox about the dangers of representing himself at trial, explaining to him that, as a non-attorney, Cox might not know what legal objections to make at trial, what legal issues were presented, or what questions to ask standby counsel; that standby counsel would not be representing him; that Cox would be “on [his] own to figure out what legal issues present[ed] themselves”; that the trial court would not be able to assist him or to “point [Cox] in the right direction”; that it “would not be up to [the court] to make sure that [Cox] did a good job representing [him]self. If [Cox] did an absolutely horrible job, did not raise any legal objections, that would...

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6 practice notes
  • Stinson v. State, A19A1598
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • 25 Octubre 2019
    ...(punctuation and footnote omitted).5 Hamilton v. State , 233 Ga. App. 463, 466-467 (1) (b),, 504 S.E.2d 236 (1998).6 Cox v. State , 317 Ga. App. 654, 732 S.E.2d 321 (2012).7 Platt v. State , 342 Ga. App. 664, 666 (1), 805 S.E.2d 112 (2017).8 See U.S. Const., Amend. VI ; Ga. Const. of 1983, ......
  • Mcdaniel v. State, No. A14A0674.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • 20 Junio 2014
    ...court to make a knowing and intelligent waiver of the right to counsel.” (Citations, punctuation and footnote omitted.) Cox v. State, 317 Ga.App. 654, 655, 732 S.E.2d 321 (2012). The record shows that McDaniel was arrested in September 2010 on charges relating to mortgage fraud and remained......
  • Britt v. State, A21A1695
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • 1 Febrero 2022
    ...ruling as to whether the defendant's waiver of the right to counsel was valid is reviewed for abuse of discretion." Cox v. State , 317 Ga. App. 654, 654, 732 S.E.2d 321 (2012) (footnote omitted).At a pre-trial hearing, the trial court discussed with Britt his desire to represent himself. Br......
  • Moore v. Camara, No. A12A0899.
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • 21 Septiembre 2012
    ...Moore broke his hand, his elbow, his ankle, his collarbone and his ribs in the accident. He also suffered a laceration on his head. [732 S.E.2d 321] Moore does not remember how the accident happened; he remembers walking along the right shoulder of Interstate 16 and then waking up in an amb......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
6 cases
  • Stinson v. State, A19A1598
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • 25 Octubre 2019
    ...(punctuation and footnote omitted).5 Hamilton v. State , 233 Ga. App. 463, 466-467 (1) (b),, 504 S.E.2d 236 (1998).6 Cox v. State , 317 Ga. App. 654, 732 S.E.2d 321 (2012).7 Platt v. State , 342 Ga. App. 664, 666 (1), 805 S.E.2d 112 (2017).8 See U.S. Const., Amend. VI ; Ga. Const. of 1983, ......
  • Mcdaniel v. State, No. A14A0674.
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • 20 Junio 2014
    ...court to make a knowing and intelligent waiver of the right to counsel.” (Citations, punctuation and footnote omitted.) Cox v. State, 317 Ga.App. 654, 655, 732 S.E.2d 321 (2012). The record shows that McDaniel was arrested in September 2010 on charges relating to mortgage fraud and remained......
  • Britt v. State, A21A1695
    • United States
    • United States Court of Appeals (Georgia)
    • 1 Febrero 2022
    ...ruling as to whether the defendant's waiver of the right to counsel was valid is reviewed for abuse of discretion." Cox v. State , 317 Ga. App. 654, 654, 732 S.E.2d 321 (2012) (footnote omitted).At a pre-trial hearing, the trial court discussed with Britt his desire to represent himself. Br......
  • Moore v. Camara, No. A12A0899.
    • United States
    • Georgia Court of Appeals
    • 21 Septiembre 2012
    ...Moore broke his hand, his elbow, his ankle, his collarbone and his ribs in the accident. He also suffered a laceration on his head. [732 S.E.2d 321] Moore does not remember how the accident happened; he remembers walking along the right shoulder of Interstate 16 and then waking up in an amb......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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