Right to testify at trial; People v. Harris; Plain error; People v. Carines
The defendant was not denied the right to testify at trial. He was charged with violating a PPO taken out against him by plaintiff, his former wife. The PPO, served on August 10, 2006, prohibited him from coming within plaintiff's vicinity. However, evidence presented at his evidentiary hearing and trial demonstrated he was outside plaintiff's apartment the night of September 29, 2006. When defendant could produce no witnesses on his behalf, the trial court found the evidence presented showed he had violated the PPO. Throughout the proceedings, he continually interrupted to give his own version of events, talking over both the prosecutor and the trial court. However, he never took the stand to testify on his own behalf. Defendant asserted the trial court erred when it failed to advise him of the right to testify, and failed to obtain a knowing and intelligent waiver of the right to testify. Michigan courts have no duty to advise a defendant of his right to testify, or to determine whether he knowingly and intelligently waived that right. No error occurred. Thus, defendant necessarily failed to show the claimed error was plain, or the error affected his substantial rights. His argument the court should abandon its prior position and develop a new standard for assessing alleged denials of a defendant's right to testify was unpersuasive. He failed to show any error was made, or any circumstances had changed rendering the court's prior case law "an outmoded rule" or resulting in injustice. Affirmed.
Full Text Opinion
State Bar of Michigan
306 Townsend St
Lansing, MI 48933-2012