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Criminal Matter Involving Self-Representation and Employment Discrimination Case

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By FindLaw Staff on March 05, 2010 12:43 PM

The Eighth Circuit decided one criminal matter involving a defendant's attempt to represent himself, and one employment discrimination case.

In US v. Washington, No. 08-3678, the court of appeals affirmed defendant's conviction for distribution of a controlled substance, holding that: 1) the record did not suggest that defendant's counsel was unprepared or inadequate as counsel, and thus defendant was not effectively compelled to represent himself; 2) despite defendant's admission that his self-representation request was both untimely and for an improper purpose, neither concession served as a basis for reversing the district court's decision to grant his request; 3) there was no abuse of discretion in the district court not ordering a competency evaluation or holding a competency hearing; and 4) there was sufficient evidence to sustain defendant's convictions.

As the court wrote:  "This record is sufficient to establish that Washington's waiver of his right to counsel at trial was knowing, voluntary, and intelligent. The record reflects that the district court advised Washington of the charges and the serious penalties that he faced, and Washington indicated that he understood them. The court outlined trial procedures that Washington would have to follow if he proceeded pro se, repeatedly warned Washington about the dangers of selfrepresentation, and recommended that Washington continue with his counsel numerous times."

In Quasius v. Schwan Food Co., No. 09-1226, an employment discrimination action, the Eighth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for defendant, holding that defendant failed to file a motion to withdraw his dispositive admissions after the district court provided ample notice and opportunity to do so.

As the court wrote:  "After Schwan served its requests for admission, Quasius never asked the court to adjust the normal time for response under Rule 36(a)(3), and Quasius failed to respond within the thirty days specified in the rule. Consequently, the matters specified in Schwan's requests of August 8 were "admitted" and "conclusively established" after September 11, 2008. At that point, the proper procedure for Quasius to "withdraw or amend" the admissions was to file a motion with the court pursuant to Rule 36(b)."

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