Edwards v. State, No. 49A02-0602-CR-144.

Docket NºNo. 49A02-0602-CR-144.
Citation854 N.E.2d 42
Case DateSeptember 18, 2006
CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana
854 N.E.2d 42
Ahmad EDWARDS, Appellant-Defendant,
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.
No. 49A02-0602-CR-144.
Court of Appeals of Indiana.
September 18, 2006.

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COPYRIGHT MATERIAL OMITTED

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Michael R. Fisher, Indianapolis, IN, Attorney for Appellant.

Steve Carter, Attorney General of Indiana, Justin F. Roebel, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, IN, Attorneys for Appellee.

OPINION

BAKER, Judge.


Appellant-defendant Ahmad Edwards appeals from his convictions for Attempted Murder,1 a class A felony, Battery With a Deadly Weapon,2 a class C felony, Criminal Recklessness,3 a class D felony, and

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Theft,4 a class D felony. Edwards also argues that the trial court erred in imposing his sentences. Specifically, Edwards raises the following arguments: (1) the trial court erred in refusing to permit Edwards to represent himself in Edwards's second trial on the attempted murder and battery charges; (2) the trial court erred in denying his motions for discharge because he was denied his right to a speedy trial; (3) the trial court erred in imposing Edwards's sentences because it considered an improper aggravating circumstance; and (4) the trial court imposed sentences that are inappropriate in light of the nature of the offenses and Edwards's character.

We and the trial court alike are bound by the precedent of the United States Supreme Court. Consequently, we are compelled to conclude that the trial court erred in denying Edwards's request to represent himself in his second trial, inasmuch as it had already found him competent to stand trial. Finding no other error, we affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand with instructions to vacate Edwards's convictions for attempted murder and battery and to hold a new trial on those charges.

FACTS

On July 12, 1999, shortly after noon, Ryan Martin, a loss prevention officer at the Parisian Department Store in downtown Indianapolis, received a telephone call from a sales associate in the store's shoe department regarding a suspiciously-acting patron. Martin observed the patron, later identified as Edwards, on the store's surveillance system, and noticed Edwards place a pair of shoes into a bag and then walk out of the store.

Martin exited the store, approached Edwards on a street corner, and identified himself as a Parisian loss prevention officer. Edwards turned and appeared to be preparing to flee, so Martin grabbed Edwards in a "bear hug" and held onto him until Martin heard a gunshot. Tr. p. 98-100, 144. Martin then observed that Edwards had a gun in his hand, at which time Martin let go of Edwards and rolled away. Martin then heard a second gunshot.

At that point, Martin was on the ground with one hand on the ground and the other hand in the air to show Edwards that he was unarmed. Edwards began to walk away but then stopped, turned around, pointed the gun at Martin's head from approximately seven feet away, and fired a third shot. The bullet missed Martin and struck the lower right leg of a bystander. Martin later realized that one of the bullets had struck him, grazing his back.

After firing the third shot, Edwards ran away from the store on Washington Street. Thomas Flynn, a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, happened to be driving down Washington Street at that time. Agent Flynn heard what sounded like a large-caliber weapon being fired and observed that people on the street bore an expression that "told [him] unmistakably that something bad was occurring . . . ." Tr. p. 357. The agent then observed Edwards, who had a different expression on his face than the other people on the street, running toward him. Edwards was running between vehicles and people "seemed to be trying to get away from" him. Id. at 359. Agent Flynn exited his vehicle and chased after Edwards, following him down an alley and watching as he entered a parking garage.

Agent Flynn looked into the parking garage and observed Edwards crouching

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in a corner. The agent identified himself and ordered Edwards to raise his hands, observing that Edwards had a "large caliber semiautomatic handgun" in his hand. Id. at 367. Edwards pointed his gun toward the agent's face and started to move away from Agent Flynn, who was yelling constantly at Edwards to drop the gun. Edwards eventually turned and again pointed the weapon at Agent Flynn, who raised his own weapon and fired at Edwards. Edwards was struck in his thigh by the agent's bullet and fell onto the ground. Eventually, Edwards complied with Agent Flynn's order to drop the gun.

On July 15, 1999, the State charged Edwards with class A felony attempted murder, class C felony battery with a deadly weapon, class D felony criminal recklessness, and class D felony Theft. On August 16, 2000, Edwards was found incompetent to stand trial, but on March 14, 2001, Edwards was certified as competent to stand trial. On November 24, 2003, Edwards was again found incompetent to stand trial, but was certified as competent to stand trial on July 29, 2004.

A jury trial was held on June 27 and 28, 2005. The jury found Edwards guilty of theft and criminal recklessness but was unable to reach a verdict on the attempted murder and battery charges. The trial court declared a mistrial with respect to the attempted murder and battery charges and scheduled a new trial on those charges.

On August 3, 2005, Edwards moved to proceed pro se and his trial counsel moved to withdraw.5 The trial court granted both motions. Appellant's App. p. 54. Apparently, at some point not reflected in the Chronological Case Summary, the trial court again appointed counsel to represent Edwards. On August 31, 2005, Edwards again moved to proceed pro se, and the trial court summarily denied that motion. On December 13, 2005, Edwards filed another petition to proceed pro se, and following a hearing on the morning of Edwards's second jury trial, the trial court denied the request, finding that although Edwards was competent to stand trial he was incapable of representing himself.

On December 19-21, 2005, a second jury trial was held on the attempted murder and battery with a deadly weapon charges. The jury found Edwards guilty of both charges. On January 17, 2006, the trial court sentenced Edwards to the presumptive term on all counts — thirty years for attempted murder, four years for battery with a deadly weapon, and one and one-half years each for criminal recklessness and theft. The trial court ordered all sentences to be served concurrently, for a total executed sentence of thirty years. Edwards now appeals.

DISCUSSION AND DECISION
I. Right of Self-Representation

Edwards first argues that the trial court erred in denying his request to represent himself at his second trial. The extent of a criminal defendant's right to self-representation under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution was articulated by the United States Supreme Court in Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806, 95 S.Ct. 2525, 45 L.Ed.2d 562 (1975); see also Sherwood v. State, 717 N.E.2d 131 (Ind.1999) (describing and following the Faretta decision). The Faretta Court held that a state may not "constitutionally

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hale a person into its criminal courts and there force a lawyer upon him, even when he insists that he wants to conduct his own defense." 422 U.S. at 807, 95 S.Ct. 2525. More specifically, the Court noted that the Sixth Amendment grants to the accused "personally the right to make his defense." Id. at 819, 95 S.Ct. 2525. Thus, "[u]nless the accused has acquiesced in such representation, the defense presented is not the defense guaranteed him by the Constitution, for, in a very real sense, it is not his defense." Id. at 821, 95 S.Ct. 2525 (emphasis in original). Although a pro se defendant will lose the advantage of an attorney's training and experience and may conduct his defense to his own detriment, he has the constitutional right to do so. Id. at 834, 95 S.Ct. 2525.

More recently, the United States Supreme Court considered what, if any, difference there is between competency to stand trial and competency to represent oneself. Godinez v. Moran, 509 U.S. 389, 113 S.Ct. 2680, 125 L.Ed.2d 321 (1993). In Godinez, the Court concluded that the competency standard for waiving the right to counsel is not higher than the competency standard for standing trial. Id. at 391, 113 S.Ct. 2680. More specifically, "[t]he Court reiterated the longstanding distinction between competence to choose self-representation, which is measured by competence to stand trial, and competence to represent oneself effectively, which the defendant is not required to demonstrate." Sherwood, 717 N.E.2d at 135 (analyzing Godinez, 509 U.S. at 399-400, 113 S.Ct. 2680) (emphasis added).

The Godinez Court did, however, recognize a separate constitutional prerequisite for waiving the right to counsel—the requirement that such a waiver be knowing and voluntary. 509 U.S. at 400, 113 S.Ct. 2680. As explained by our Supreme Court,

[w]hereas the competency inquiry focuses on the ability to understand the proceedings, the `knowing and voluntary' inquiry focuses on whether the defendant actually understands the significance and consequences of his choice and whether the decision is uncoerced. In addition, this Court has held that the right to represent oneself must be clearly and unequivocally asserted within a reasonable time before the trial begins.

Therefore, a defendant who is competent to stand trial and who knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily makes a timely and unequivocal waiver of counsel is entitled to exercise the right of self-representation. . . .

Sherwood, 717 N.E.2d at 135 (citations omitted).

Here, the trial court acknowledged Sherwood but concluded that it could carve out an exception to the rule for situations, such as this one,...

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3 practice notes
  • State v. Connor, No. 18099.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • July 14, 2009
    ...2383. On appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals agreed and reversed Edwards' convictions of attempted murder and battery. Edwards v. State, 854 N.E.2d 42, 45, 52 (Ind.App. 2006). The state of Indiana appealed to the Indiana Supreme Court, which upheld the decision of the Indiana Court of Appe......
  • Edwards v. State, No. 49S02-0705-CR-202.
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • May 17, 2007
    ...The Court of Appeals agreed and reversed and remanded this case for retrial of the attempted murder and battery counts. Edwards v. State, 854 N.E.2d 42, 45 (Ind.Ct.App.2006). The State seeks transfer, which is granted by order concurrent with this The Right to Self-Representation The State ......
  • Edwards v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • May 17, 2007
    ...N.E.2d 458 EDWARDS v. STATE. Supreme Court of Indiana. May 17, 2007. Citation below: 854 N.E.2d 42. Transfer...
3 cases
  • State v. Connor, No. 18099.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • July 14, 2009
    ...2383. On appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals agreed and reversed Edwards' convictions of attempted murder and battery. Edwards v. State, 854 N.E.2d 42, 45, 52 (Ind.App. 2006). The state of Indiana appealed to the Indiana Supreme Court, which upheld the decision of the Indiana Court of Appe......
  • Edwards v. State, No. 49S02-0705-CR-202.
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • May 17, 2007
    ...The Court of Appeals agreed and reversed and remanded this case for retrial of the attempted murder and battery counts. Edwards v. State, 854 N.E.2d 42, 45 (Ind.Ct.App.2006). The State seeks transfer, which is granted by order concurrent with this The Right to Self-Representation The State ......
  • Edwards v. State
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • May 17, 2007
    ...N.E.2d 458 EDWARDS v. STATE. Supreme Court of Indiana. May 17, 2007. Citation below: 854 N.E.2d 42. Transfer...

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