TONY JEFFERSON, JR. APPELLANT
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE
FROM THE FAULKNER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 23CR-16-465]
HONORABLE CHARLES E. CLAWSON, JR., JUDGE.
Standridge, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Michael A. Hylden, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
LARRYD. VAUGHT, JUDGE.
Jefferson appeals his conviction by a Faulkner County jury of
delivery of more than ten grams but less than 200 grams of
methamphetamine, in violation of Arkansas Code Annotated
section 5-64-422(b)(3) (Supp. 2011). We affirm.
was charged by felony information on May 25, 2016. Attorney
Karen Walker Knight was appointed as trial counsel for
Jefferson after his private attorney withdrew from the case.
On December 28, 2016, Jefferson filed a pro se motion to
remove his counsel of record, stating that "counsel for
the defendant is being verbally argumentative . . . and does
not want to pursue the methods that the defendant raises . .
. ." The circuit court denied the motion at a pretrial
hearing February 10, 2017, stating the following:
As far as your motion to remove counsel, at this point
I'm going to deny that. It's not important that you
love one another. It's important that you can consult
with her, tell her what information you have, if you have
witnesses that you believe to be important to your defense in
these cases, provide that information to her so she can
contact those witnesses and subpoena them if necessary. So
that motion will also be denied.
immediate response to this ruling was "[o]kay, well, I
ain't ready to go to trial then on the 21st then."
Jefferson repeatedly asserted that he was not ready to go to
trial because he had not "consulted with none of my
people yet." After a lengthy back and forth between the
circuit court and Jefferson, Jefferson stated, "Man,
I'd rather just fire Karen Walker Knight and hire me an
attorney." The court advised Jefferson "if
that's what you want to do then you get it done . . . and
you be ready to go but we're going to trial on [case
number] 16-465 on February the 21st at nine
o'clock." Jefferson again responded, "Okay,
well, I'm firing Karen Walker Knight and I'll hire my
pretrial hearing held February 17, 2017, three days before
trial, Jefferson was still represented by Knight but asserted
that he "was trying to hire private counsel, " and
he sought a continuance to hire a private attorney. At no
time before trial did Jefferson indicate that he wanted to
represent himself at trial. Likewise, during the trial
Jefferson never indicated he wanted to proceed pro se.
Jefferson merely told the court "Okay, I didn't want
Karen Walker Knight as a lawyer anyway."
trial, the jury was presented with overwhelming evidence of
Jefferson's guilt. The State showed the jury a video of
Jefferson delivering methamphetamine, which was corroborated
by the testimony of Korey Bearden, an agent of the Drug
Enforcement Agency (DEA); Tom Kennedy, a police officer with
the Conway Police Department; Cardarious Walker, a DEA agent;
and Clay Phelan, a forensic chemist employed by the DEA. The
jury also heard the testimony of a confidential informant,
Herbert Cameron, who testified that he bought approximately
an ounce of methamphetamine from Jefferson as part of an
agreement between him and the Conway Police Department that
resulted in leniency regarding other criminal charges he was
Cameron's testimony at trial, Jefferson made a pro se
verbal motion seeking to have Cameron drug tested. The court
denied the request because it found that the witness was
coherent, his testimony was clear, and there was no
indication that he was currently under the influence of
drugs. Jefferson was convicted, and this appeal followed.
first point on appeal is that the circuit court erred in
allowing his appointed counsel to remain on the case after he
expressed his desire to fire her. He frames this as a
violation of his right to self-representation. In Faretta
v. California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975), the United States
Supreme Court held that the accused generally has a Sixth
Amendment right to defend himself because it is the accused
who will suffer the consequences if the defense fails.
Id. at 819-20. The right to self-representation is
not, however, without limits. The Court made clear that,
although the defendant need not have the skill and experience
of a lawyer in order to competently and intelligently choose
self-representation, he "should be made aware of the
dangers and disadvantages of self-representation so that the
record will establish that he knows what he is doing and his
choice is made with open eyes." Id. at 835. In
accordance with Faretta, the Arkansas Supreme Court
has held that a defendant may invoke his right to
self-representation provided that (1) the request to waive
the right to counsel is unequivocal and timely asserted, (2)
there has been a knowing and intelligent waiver of the right
to counsel, and (3) the defendant has not engaged in conduct
that would prevent the fair and orderly exposition of the
issues. Jarrett v. State, 371 Ark. 100, 104, 263
S.W.3d 538, 542 (2007).
right to counsel may not be manipulated or subverted to
obstruct the orderly procedures of the court, or to interfere
with the fair, efficient, and effective administration of
justice, particularly when a change of counsel is sought on
the eve of trial, primarily for the purpose of delay, and
without making any effort to obtain substitute counsel.
Liggins v. State, 2015 Ark.App. 321, at 5-6, 463
S.W.3d 331, 335-36. In Jarrett, the Arkansas Supreme
Court held that a request to proceed pro se is not an
unequivocal request if it is an attempt on the part of the
defendant to have another attorney appointed.
Jarrett, 371 Ark. at 104, 263 S.W.3d at 542.
he now argues that the circuit court violated his
constitutional right to serve as his own counsel, Jefferson
never requested that he be allowed to represent himself.
Jefferson expressed displeasure with his appointed counsel
and stated that he wanted to fire her and hire new counsel,
but he never did so. As discussed above, Faretta
requires that the request to waive the right to counsel be
unequivocally and timely asserted. Here, it was never
asserted at all. Therefore, the self-representation analysis
in Faretta and its progeny does not apply. See
Morgan v. State, 359 Ark. 168, 177-78, 195 S.W.3d 889,
894-95 (2004); Whitlow v. State, 2016 Ark.App. 510,
at 11, 506 S.W.3d 272, 278. The court expressly told
Jefferson that he was free to fire his appointed attorney and
obtain new counsel but that he should do so ...