United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
H. RAMBO United States District Judge
Timothy Andrew Young (“Defendant”) continues to
assert that he does not want to be represented by standby
counsel, but rather wants to represent himself at his
upcoming trial. After holding another hearing to address
Defendant's ability and fitness to proceed pro
se, the court once again finds that Defendant has
effectively waived his right to self-representation. Thus,
the court will leave undisturbed its prior order terminating
Defendant's self-representation and appointing Attorney
Heidi R. Freese to represent him in this matter.
thorough recitation of the unique facts and history of this
case was provided in this court's previous July 20, 2017
memorandum opinion terminating Defendant's
self-representation. See United States v. Young, No.
1:16-CR-161, 2017 WL 3087744, at *1-2 (M.D. Pa. July 20,
2017); (Doc. 56 at 1-4). At that time, the Honorable William
W. Caldwell found that Defendant had effectively waived his
right to represent himself due to persistent disruptive and
obstructionist conduct. (Doc. 56 at 6-9). Accordingly,
standby counsel, Heidi R. Freese, from the Office of the
Federal Public Defender, was appointed to represent
Defendant. (Id. at 9; Doc. 57).
February 2018, this case was reassigned from Judge Caldwell
to the undersigned due to Judge Caldwell's retirement. In
light of the impending trial and after receiving notice that
Defendant has been refusing to communicate with Attorney
Freese about his defense, the court scheduled another hearing
to determine whether Defendant could behave in a manner that
would allow him to proceed pro se. That hearing was
held on April 16, 2018. (See Doc. 93). For the
following reasons, Defendant will not be permitted to
represent himself at trial, and Attorney Freese will continue
as appointed counsel.
defendants have a constitutional right to decline
court-appointed counsel and conduct their own defense.
Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806, 807, 819
(1975). This right, however, is not absolute. Martinez v.
Court of Appeal of Cal., Fourth Appellate Dist., 528
U.S. 152, 161 (2000). A trial judge may terminate
self-representation, even over a defendant's objection,
when the defendant “deliberately engages in serious and
obstructionist misconduct.” Faretta, 422 U.S.
at 834 n.46 (citing Illinois v. Allen, 397 U.S. 337
(1970)); Thomas v. Carroll, 581 F.3d 118, 125 (3d
pretrial obstructionist behavior can provide a strong
indication of a defendant's likely conduct at trial, and
thus constitute grounds for termination of
self-representation. See United States v. Brock, 159
F.3d 1077, 1079-80 (7th Cir. 1998). In such circumstances,
standby counsel may be ordered to represent the defendant.
Faretta, 422 U.S. at 834 n.46 (citation omitted).
noted above, another hearing was recently held to determine
whether Defendant could behave in a manner that would allow
him to represent himself at his upcoming trial.
Defendant's past conduct, (see Doc. 56 at 1-4),
his conduct at the first Faretta hearing, (see
Id. at 6-9), and his similar conduct at the most recent
hearing convince this court that Defendant continues to waive
his right to represent himself at trial.
April 16, 2018 hearing,  Defendant persisted in obstructionist
and disruptive behavior that has been a hallmark of this case
since its inception. He repeatedly contended that he was
being prosecuted in bad faith, (4/16/18 Hr'g Tr. at 4, 7,
12), and that certain case law proved he was innocent and his
constitutional rights were being violated, (id at 3,
5, 10, 12, 13). He interrupted the court on multiple
occasions, and refused to answer simple questions-instead
responding with irrelevant legal contentions. (Id.
at 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10-11, 12, 13). Defendant was also
argumentative, for example, telling the court it was
incorrect when it explained to him that the presence of a
jury was improper for a suppression or Faretta
hearing. (Id. at 8-9, 10).
notably, Defendant unequivocally demonstrated a refusal to
accept the court's prior ruling on his suppression
motion. Throughout the hearing, he asserted that his arrest
and the search of his house were unconstitutional, despite
this court's detailed ruling to the contrary,
(see Docs. 83 & 84). The court explained to
Defendant that the suppression-motion ruling was final and
the law of the case, and that he could appeal that decision
if he were convicted at trial. (4/16/18 Hr'g Tr. at 7,
12-13). Importantly, the court also expressly informed
Defendant that he must abide by its ruling, and that he may
not raise the search and seizure issues during trial.
(Id. at 12-13). Defendant refused to accept this
instruction, and indicated that he believed his claims should
be presented to the jury. (Id. at 7-9, 12-13).
light of the foregoing facts, the court finds there is
“a strong indication” that Defendant will
continue his obstructionist and disruptive conduct at trial.
Brock, 159 F.3d at 1080; United States v.
Flewitt, 874 F.2d 669, 674 (9th Cir. 1989).
Defendant's behavior also indicates that he will continue
to refuse to comply with the relevant procedural rules and
substantive law at trial. See Faretta, 422 U.S. at
834 n.46 (“The right of self-representation is not . .
. a license not to comply with relevant rules of procedural
and substantive law.”).
although Defendant has clearly and unequivocally expressed a
desire to proceed pro se, he has likewise
demonstrated, through pretrial conduct, his conscious
decision to waive that right. Brock, 159 F.3d at
1080; see also Faretta, 422 U.S. at 834 n.46;
Thomas, 581 F.3d at 125. Therefore, the court will
not disturb its previous order, (Doc. 57), terminating
Defendant's self-representation and appointing Attorney
Freese to represent him. See Faretta, 422 U.S. at