Is a defendant's claim that the trial court's failure to provide him with the means and subpoena witnesses to defend at trial a violation of his Sixth Amendment right to represent himself at trial reversible?

California, United States of America

The following excerpt is from People v. Colquitt, C074697 (Cal. App. 2015):

Defendant contends the trial court's "failure to provide [defendant] with the means to find and subpoena witnesses" violated his Sixth Amendment right to represent himself at trial, a violation which is reversible per se. He also contends the court's error violated his Sixth Amendment right to compulsory process and his Fourteenth Amendment right to present a defense, and these violations are not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt. (Chapman v. California (1967) 386 U.S. 18 [17 L.Ed.2d 705] (Chapman).) We conclude these claims lack merit. Defendant has adduced no evidence that the court failed to permit him to represent himself or failed to provide him the means to obtain witnesses. Even assuming the court erred in some vague fashion in the provision of pro per services, defendant was not deprived of his right to represent himself or obtain witnesses. Any error was harmless under Chapman.

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