Friday, March 23, 2007

Oliver: An NFP Reversal for the Denial of Counsel

There was an interesting NFP reversal today: Oliver v. State, Court of Appeals No. 16A01-0609-CR-413 (Ind. Ct. App. March 23, 2007) (Bailey, Vaidik, Barnes). The court unanimously reversed a marijuana misdemeanor conviction, because the trial court forced Ms. Oliver to go to trial without a lawyer. Or at least the trial court did not make sufficient inquiry into the matter.

Another NFP reversal. A misdemeanor conviction that the Indiana Supreme Court is unlikely, I would guess, to by much interested in. Especially if it's NFP.

So the question is: do judges on the Court of Appeals actually try to hide their cases among the NFP's? I don't have the statistics to say one way or the other. And the Supreme Court certainly grants transfer in a fair number of NFP's in which the Court of Appeals has granted a criminal appellant relief.

I will say that were I the Deputy Attorney General on this case, I'd ask the court to publish the opinion. And I'm a little surprised the court didn't publish on its own. There aren't that many Indiana cases around on forcing defendants to trial without a lawyer.

Just warming up on the NFP's.

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