Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Second Division
from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis Honorable
Thomas J. Frawley
Davis ("Appellant") appeals from his judgments for
assault in the first degree, in violation of Section 565.050
(RSMo. 2000), and armed criminal action,
in violation of Section 571.015. Appellant wished to proceed
without benefit of counsel; the trial court granted that
request, but also provided standby counsel. This action
brings to mind the adage, "be careful what you ask for,
you might get it." Appellant represented himself at
trial and the jury found him guilty of both charges. This
result brings to mind another adage, "he who represents
himself has a fool for a client." Appellant was
sentenced as a prior and persistent offender to consecutive
terms of life imprisonment. Appellant now complains that the
trial court failed to make a proper determination that he
knowingly and intelligently waived his right to counsel and
failed to present him with the required written waiver of
counsel form. We affirm.
was charged by the State of Missouri ("State") with
assault in the first degree and armed criminal action. On the
day of his trial, Appellant asked to address the court before
voir dire. Appellant stated defense counsel could not
represent him because a conflict of interest existed. When
asked to explain the conflict, Appellant claimed defense
counsel was "an officer of the Court . . . [and her]
duty is first to the Court and the public and not the client.
She can't represent me, she's a corporate person, a
corporate citizen. I am not." The court asked if
Appellant wanted to represent himself, to which he replied,
"Yes, sir, and not pro se . . . Impropa persona
(sic)." Appellant then presented the court with "an
averment of jurisdiction" and asked the court for a
"delegation of authority." When asked what he
wanted the court to do, Appellant stated, "prove who you
is . . . prove who the Court is, sir." After denying
Appellant's motion to discharge defense counsel for
conflict of interest, the court again asked Appellant if he
wanted defense counsel to represent him:
THE COURT: Do you want her to represent you?
DEFENDANT: No, I do not.
THE COURT: So you want me to discharge her as your lawyer?
DEFENDANT: I want - that's right, discharge her as my
THE COURT: All right. Now, do you understand that if
you're convicted of both of these charges you have the
potential of getting two consecutive life sentences in jail?
DEFENDANT: You're going to force me to go to trial and
not answer [the "delegation of authority"]?
THE COURT: I'm sorry, sir?
DEFENDANT: I said so you're going to force me to go to
THE COURT: Sir, you're set for trial, you're going to
go to trial.
DEFENDANT: I said so you're forcing me to go to trial?
THE COURT: I'm not forcing you to do anything, sir.
It's set for trial, if you ...