Defendant wants to represent himself
September 16, 2003
Martin Arroyo, the victim in an attempted murder case, is still interested in representing himself in court when he faces harassment and menacing charges.
Arroyo, 37, is the victim in a case that dates back to April, when his girlfriend’s ex-husband allegedly tried to kill him by slashing his throat. At the end of July Arroyo was arrested when his then ex-girlfriend, Pam Branson, told police he had been in her home yelling at her and breaking things.
Arroyo told Judge James Boyd of the 9th District Judicial Court a week ago that he feels he has a conflict of interest with two of the attorneys from the public defender’s office. He said he would rather represent himself than be represented by either lawyer.
Arroyo said that in a previous case he was not granted a reduction in bond because of a failure to appear warrant he claims did not belong to him.
“If I will not receive a fair trial from the public defender’s office, I’d rather represent myself,” Arroyo told the court. “I have no other alternative.”
Judge Boyd told Arroyo yesterday he found no grounds for a legal conflict of interest after public defender James Conway said that he and fellow attorney, Jamie Roth, feel his request is unfounded.
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But Arroyo said he refuses to speak with Conway about the possibility of being represented by his office. Boyd expressed his concern about the suspect serving as his own attorney.
“There are significant risks with representing yourself,” Judge Boyd said. He advised Arroyo of those risks, including his lack of training or jobs that qualify him to represent himself, and the complicated nature of criminal law.
Boyd told Arroyo that it’s in his best interest if he is represented by an attorney, and that his right to represent himself could be taken away at trial if he did not proceed properly. Arroyo said he understood that, and requested a hearing with the court on the issue of his conflict of interest with the public defender’s office.
He said he would attempt to contact an outside attorney to consult with before the hearing, and said the transcripts from his previous cases would prove the conflict.
Judge Boyd set the hearing for Oct. 8.
[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is email@example.com]