People v. Crespo

The Court of Appeals reversed the judgment of the Appellate Division remanding this criminal case for a new trial, holding that the trial court’s determination that Defendant’s request to proceed pro se, made near the conclusion of jury selection, was untimely was not in error. The day after the parties began jury selection, Defendant voluntarily appeared and, for the first time, asked to represent himself. The trial court rejected Defendant’s request to proceed pro se, concluding that it was too late to make the request. Defendant was ultimately convicted of assault in the first degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree. The Appellate Division reversed, concluding that Defendant’s requests to represent himself were timely because they occurred before opening statements. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding (1) a request to represent oneself in a criminal trial is timely where the application to proceed pro se is made before the trial commences; and (2) therefore, the trial court properly determined that Defendant’s request to represent himself was untimely. View "People v. Crespo" on Justia Law