What is a ‘Faretta Motion’ in California Criminal Court?

May 03, 2022 by Madison Ferguson in California  Criminal Defense  
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He Who Represents Himself has a Fool for a Client

A Faretta motion is a legal file prepared by the criminal defendant in association with the court to allow them to represent themselves during the criminal proceeding. This should be done in time to get the full request.

The motion got its name from Faretta v. California, a case in the supreme court. From the case, it was ruled that the defendant had the right to assume the right to counsel and choose to represent themselves under the US 6th and 14th constitution amendment. The defendant’s choice to assume the counsel right should be made willingly, knowingly, and intelligently.

The right to self-represent is both in the primary stages and the appellate stages of the criminal proceeding. This right, however, takes away the chance to re-appeal due to the ineffectiveness of the counsel assistant. A Faretta motion occurs during the arraignment.

Faretta Hearing

This is the hearing that allows the judges to decide whether to represent themselves or not. To fully gain the right to represent yourself, the judge has to determine the defendant’s mental health to ensure they are sure to make the decision. Remember, the state does not inform the defendant of the problems they are likely to encounter with self-representation. Additionally, they have no obligation to inform the defendant of the compelled self-incrimination. After the hearing, the judge will grant the Faretta motion to the defendant or deny the motion, in which case the defendant will be obliged to hire a lawyer or get a public defender.

As you look forward to the motion, be sure of the amount to use:

• As the self-presentation seems good and attractive, the defendant should accept the risks involved in their demand.
• The same rules will be used on the self-representing, similar to the ones used on lawyers and the public defender. There is no special treatment.

From Self-representation to Acquiring a Lawyer

People often change their minds on what they actually want. Therefore, a defendant can later choose not to self-represent but rather request a lawyer or a public defender. Additionally, the defendant may choose to retain their attorney; the judge issues a continuance grant to allow the lawyer to have a reasonable period for preparing the case.

Is Self-representation a Good Idea?

Self-representation is not a good idea, especially when the case involved has some criminal offense. While facing a charge of a misdemeanor or a felony, it may not be the best idea for a defendant to represent themselves. The risk of obtaining a criminal record is increased, especially if the respondent fails. Criminal records bring about increased consequences on the defendant, especially in cases associated with California DUI. The risk of increased insurance costs increases, among other collateral issues.

Good California defense attorneys help the defendant learn and prevent the consequences that would have otherwise occurred.

However, defendants may represent themselves for minor violations that lead to an infraction charge. They will be able to take themselves through the criminal proceeding.

How is Faretta Motion Different from Marsden Motion?

These are two different motions. Marsden Motion is a legal document prepared by the defendant and filed under the court. Its main purpose is to allow the defendant to try to seek the removal of the court-appointed attorney or people’s public defender. The name originated from People v. Marsden.

In California, the Marsden Motion is the only way a defendant may remove the public lawyer. Additionally, the motion focuses on the public defenders. If the lawyer is private, then they can fire and hire a new one. If the judge passes the case, then the public defender is fired, and a new one is appointed to represent the defendant. If the motion is denied, the defendant is stuck with the public defender.

Faretta’s motion only focuses on the documentation representation from the lawyer to self-representation during trials. This is a move that defendants are asked to be careful to avoid any reparations that may occur in the cause of the case. The origin of Faretta motion also differs a great deal.

Fear must exist beforehand to drive the motions since they are different in meaning. Marsden motion is more popular and common.

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Lara S.
December 3, 2019
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How to Win Your Case

We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:

  1. Don’t ever talk to the police
  2. Do not discuss your case with anyone
  3. Everything you tell your lawyer is confidential
  4. Tell police you need to contact your attorney
  5. Never consent to any search by the police
  6. If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
  7. Realize the consequences of a criminal conviction
  8. Your lawyer (not you) will contact any witnesses
  9. Information on your cell phone is evidence
  10. Early Intervention is the key

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