State v. Harden

Citation750 S.W.2d 666
PartiesSTATE of Missouri, Respondent, v. Donald HARDEN, Appellant. WD 39471.
Decision Date26 April 1988
CourtCourt of Appeal of Missouri (US)

Melinda K. Pendergraph, Columbia, for appellant.

William L. Webster, Atty. Gen., Elizabeth L. Ziegler, Asst. Atty. Gen., Jefferson City, for respondent.



Harden was convicted of escape from confinement and sentenced as a persistent offender to ten years' imprisonment, with the term to be served consecutively to an earlier sentence. The conviction was the result of a jury trial at which Harden served as his own counsel. He now appeals and presents four claims of trial court error: (1) denial of his motion for particulars as to the petit and grand jurors' qualifications; (2) denial of his objection to the petit jury panel; (3) allowing him to proceed to trial unrepresented by counsel; and (4) denial of his objection to the court's failure to arraign him pursuant to Rule 24.01.

The judgment is affirmed.

The sufficiency of the evidence is not called into question by this appeal. Accordingly, a brief description of the offense will suffice. On the day of the offense, Harden, an inmate at the Missouri State Penitentiary, was to testify in behalf of another inmate at a proceeding in the Cole County Circuit Court. While held at the county jail, he managed to partially remove his restraints and run out of the jail. He was observed, however, and he was quickly apprehended a short distance from the jail.

Prior to trial, Harden indicated his desire to represent himself and the court held two hearings to determine whether to allow him to proceed without counsel. At the first hearing Harden was both adamant in his decision to represent himself, and stated that he did not understand the charge. In the discussion of the matter with the court Harden admitted that he knew what escape was but he continued to express confusion. He explained his confusion thusly: "the preponderance of the evidence tends to show that I did not escape. So therefore I don't understand why I'm being charged with escape ... I would understand the charge if it would be attempted escape." The proceedings were inconclusive and so were adjourned. At a second hearing, Harden presented the court with a signed waiver of counsel form. The form included a provision stating that Harden understood that he was charged with the offense of escape from confinement. After informing Harden of his rights and the disadvantages of proceeding pro se and questioning him regarding his education and ability to represent himself, the court accepted his waiver of counsel.

When the cause originally went to trial, a mistrial was declared due to the inadvertant impanelment of a venireperson who had been struck for cause. During the intervening period before the matter was scheduled for a new trial, Harden filed numerous pretrial motions including a motion seeking authorization to interview members of the grand jury and petit jury associated with his case or, alternatively, disclosure of particulars as to their qualifications in terms of representing a fair cross-section of the community. The motion was denied but the court explained the selection process to Harden and told him he could obtain the information he sought by writing the clerk of the court. Following jury selection on the day of trial, Harden renewed his motion to interview the jurors or obtain disclosure of their qualifications and objected to the array of the jury. His objection was overruled.

Harden then pointed out that he had not been properly arraigned on the charge. He objected when the court indicated an intent to conduct arraignment at that time, citing his continued confusion about the charge. When challenged by the court, Harden admitted that he understood that the charge was escape but he expressed confusion over the evidence. The court noted that the waiver of counsel hearing, wherein Harden had indicated his awareness of the charge, had covered more than an arraignment would have covered and the court then proceeded with formal arraignment over Harden's objection that the court lacked jurisdiction.

At the outset of review, we note that a defendant who chooses to represent himself is held to the same standard as a licensed attorney in terms of compliance with the technical rules of substantive law, criminal procedure and evidence. See State v. Quinn, 565 S.W.2d 665, 676-77 (Mo.App.1978). Here, Harden was warned numerous times that he was entitled to no special indulgence as a layman and the court repeatedly offered to provide him with counsel but, as stated, he refused to accept representation.

His first point on appeal alleges that the trial court erred in denial of his motion for particulars as to the jurors' qualifications of both the grand and petit jurors. He maintains that he was thus deprived of the opportunity to establish that the grand and petit juries were not drawn from a source fairly representative of the community and that he was thereby punished for exercising his right of self-representation. Specifically, he asserts that the refusal by the court to provide him with census data and the lists of the grand jurors deprived him of the only means of access to such information available to him as an inmate.

As the record stands, the trial court's response to the Harden request for demographic data could not have been erroneous, given the absence of an...

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3 cases
  • Hale v. Burlington N. & Santa Fe Ry. Co.
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • 3 Diciembre 2021
    ...that to preserve a challenge to the admission of evidence, an objection must be made when the evidence is offered); State v. Harden , 750 S.W.2d 666, 668 n.1 (Mo. App. 1988) (holding that a mistrial is a nullity and that any motions filed during those proceedings have no bearing on the subs......
  • State v. Garrison
    • United States
    • Hawaii Court of Appeals
    • 8 Octubre 1993
    ...702 F.2d 1145, 1148 (D.C.Cir.1983). A motion filed prior to the first trial does not carry over to the second trial. State v. Harden, 750 S.W.2d 666, 668 n.1 (Mo.App.1988). Moreover, even if the reservation did carry over, since Defendant has not challenged any of the lower court's findings......
  • Nance v. Berra Const. Co., WD
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • 26 Abril 1988

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