The state charged appellant with third-degree criminal sexual conduct, and he fired his public defender and repeatedly insisted on representing himself at trial. He now appealed from his conviction, arguing that the District Court unconstitutionally failed to obtain a valid waiver of his right to counsel before allowing him to proceed pro se, that the prosecutor committed misconduct, and that the District Court departed from its neutral role. The Court of Appeals held that the record showed that the District Court adequately ensured that appellant’s decision to proceed to trial without legal counsel was informed and voluntary notwithstanding its failure to conduct a specific on-the-record colloquy, the prosecutor properly focused on the victim’s credibility in her closing argument and not on appellant’s exercise of his constitutional rights, and the District Court’s improper questioning of a witness did not affect appellant’s substantial rights. Affirmed.
A12-1456 State v. Prewitt (Hennepin County)