State v. Brewer, No. 24699

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM
Citation328 S.C. 117,492 S.E.2d 97
PartiesThe STATE, Respondent, v. Johnny BREWER, Appellant.
Decision Date13 October 1997
Docket NumberNo. 24699

Page 97

492 S.E.2d 97
328 S.C. 117
The STATE, Respondent,
v.
Johnny BREWER, Appellant.
No. 24699.
Supreme Court of South Carolina.
Submitted Sept. 29, 1997.
Decided Oct. 13, 1997.

Page 98

[328 S.C. 118] John D. Delgado, Columbia, for appellant.

[328 S.C. 119] Attorney General Charles Molony Condon, Deputy Attorney General, John W. McIntosh, Assistant Deputy Attorney General, Donald J. Zelenka, Columbia; and Solicitor Donald V. Myers, Lexington, for respondent.

PER CURIAM:

Following the denial of appellant's motion to proceed pro se in this capital case, we issued a writ of certiorari to review the decision of the circuit court. We reverse.

It is well-established that an accused may waive the right to counsel and proceed pro se. Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806, 95 S.Ct. 2525, 45 L.Ed.2d 562 (1975); State v. Dixon, 269 S.C. 107, 236 S.E.2d 419 (1977). Although a defendant's decision to proceed pro se may be to the defendant's own detriment, it "must be honored out of that respect for the individual which is the lifeblood of the law." Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. at 834, 95 S.Ct. at 2541, 45 L.Ed.2d at 581.

The right to proceed pro se must be clearly asserted by the defendant prior to trial. State v. Sims, 304 S.C. 409, 405 S.E.2d 377 (1991); United States v. Lorick, 753 F.2d 1295 (4th Cir.1985). The trial judge has the responsibility to ensure that the accused is informed of the dangers and disadvantages of self-representation, and makes a knowing and intelligent waiver of the right to counsel. Faretta v. California, supra; State v. Dixon, supra. The ultimate test of whether a defendant has made a knowing and intelligent waiver of the right to counsel is not the trial judge's advice, but the defendant's understanding. Graves v. State, 309 S.C. 307, 422 S.E.2d 125 (1992). A determination by the trial judge that the accused lacks the expertise or technical legal knowledge to proceed pro se does not justify a denial of the right to self-representation; the only relevant inquiry is whether the accused made a knowing and intelligent waiver of the right to counsel. Faretta v. California, supra; United States v. Bennett, 539 F.2d 45 (10th Cir.1976).

In ruling on appellant's motion to proceed pro se, the trial judge stated, "If this was [sic] not a death penalty case, perhaps my ruling would be different. But I am of the view [328 S.C. 120] that the court has adequately explained to you your right of self representation, and I think that...

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19 practice notes
  • United States v. Roof, 17-3
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • 25 Agosto 2021
    ...See Silagy v. Peters, 905 F.2d 986, 1006-08 (7th Cir. 1990); Sherwood v. State, 717 N.E.2d 131, 135 (Ind. 1999); State v. Brewer, 492 S.E.2d 97, 99 (S.C. 1997); People v. Coleman, 660 N.E.2d 919, 937-38 (Ill. 1995); Bishop v. State, 597 P.2d 273, 276 (Nev. 1979). [21] And there is no disput......
  • State v. Barnes, No. 27322.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 15 Enero 2014
    ...(2010). A capital defendant, like any other criminal defendant, may waive his right to counsel. State v. Starnes, supra;State v. Brewer, 328 S.C. 117, 492 S.E.2d 97 (1997). So long as the defendant makes his request prior to trial, the only proper inquiry is that mandated by Faretta.State v......
  • State of Tenn. v. HESTER, No. E2006-01904-SC-DDT-DD.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • 5 Octubre 2010
    ...State v. Mems, 281 N.C. 658, 190 S.E.2d 164, 173 (1972); Commonwealth v. Davido, 582 Pa. 52, 868 A.2d 431, 444 (2005); State v. Brewer, 328 S.C. 117, 492 S.E.2d 97, 98-99 (1997). As for the trial court's concern about Mr. Hester's communication difficulties, there is “some authority to supp......
  • United States v. Roof, 17-3
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (4th Circuit)
    • 25 Agosto 2021
    ...See Silagy v. Peters , 905 F.2d 986, 1006-08 (7th Cir. 1990) ; Sherwood v. State , 717 N.E.2d 131, 135 (Ind. 1999) ; State v. Brewer , 328 S.C. 117, 492 S.E.2d 97, 99 (1997) ; People v. Coleman , 168 Ill.2d 509, 214 Ill.Dec. 212, 660 N.E.2d 919, 937-38 (1995) ; Bishop v. State , 95 Nev. 511......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
19 cases
  • State v. Barnes, No. 27322.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of South Carolina
    • 15 Enero 2014
    ...(2010). A capital defendant, like any other criminal defendant, may waive his right to counsel. State v. Starnes, supra;State v. Brewer, 328 S.C. 117, 492 S.E.2d 97 (1997). So long as the defendant makes his request prior to trial, the only proper inquiry is that mandated by Faretta.State v......
  • State of Tenn. v. HESTER, No. E2006-01904-SC-DDT-DD.
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • 5 Octubre 2010
    ...State v. Mems, 281 N.C. 658, 190 S.E.2d 164, 173 (1972); Commonwealth v. Davido, 582 Pa. 52, 868 A.2d 431, 444 (2005); State v. Brewer, 328 S.C. 117, 492 S.E.2d 97, 98-99 (1997). As for the trial court's concern about Mr. Hester's communication difficulties, there is “some authority to supp......
  • State v. Jones, No. W2015-02210-SC-DDT-DD
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Tennessee
    • 30 Enero 2019
    ...State v. Mems, 281 N.C. 658, 190 S.E.2d 164, 173 (1972) ; Commonwealth v. Davido, 582 Pa. 52, 868 S.2d 431, 444 (2005) ; State v. Brewer, 328 S.C. 117, 492 S.E.2d 97, 98–99 (1997) ) ). However, there are three essential prerequisites that must be present before the right of self-representat......
  • State v. Gunches, No. CR–13–0282–AP
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Arizona
    • 1 Septiembre 2016
    ...509, 214 Ill.Dec. 212, 660 N.E.2d 919, 937 (1995) ; Sherwood v. Indiana , 717 N.E.2d 131, 135 (Ind. 1999) ; South Carolina v. Brewer , 328 S.C. 117, 492 S.E.2d 97, 99 (1997).377 P.3d 997 ¶ 8 As long as the defendant “knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived his right to counsel,” he......
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