Matthew Richardson was quoted in a Daily Report article discussing the en banc opinion by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruling that criminal defendants’ rejection of their appointed counsel can amount to a waiver of their right to counsel altogether. The decision reversed two prior panel rulings that found that the defendants had been deprived of their constitutional right to counsel when trial judges allowed them to represent themselves despite their indications they wanted a lawyer other than the one that was appointed to them.
Richardson, who was appointed to represent one of the defendants at the 11th Circuit, said he was seriously considering filing a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to examine the case. “Now a criminal defendant has the burden of proving a negative,” he said. “Now he’s got to prove that he doesn’t have knowledge. . . . The absence of the warnings is typically evidence of lack of knowledge.”