IN THE DISTRICT COURT FOR THE STATE OF WASHINGTON
IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF KING
In the matter of: STATE OF WASHINGTON, Plaintiff, No. C-534232 v. FORREST BISHOP, Defendant.
HEARING December 2, 2004
MR. SANTOS: I believe we have one add on, Your Honor, and it's a pro se matter. I don't know if Your Honor has a file on it. Forrest Bishop, cause number C-534232.
THE COURT: I do have that file. Is Mr. Bishop present?
MR. SANTOS: Your Honor, this was sent over -- by way of background, this was sent over by Judge Smith, I believe, about a week ago. At that point it was unclear, at least to the State, whether or not the defendant was going to be retaining counsel. I know on the docket it reflects that as continued for purposes of getting legal counsel. I don't know what the posture is or where the defendant is at this point.
THE COURT: Let me just -- it looks as though -- it looks as though it's an affidavit of denial of pro se status. What I'm trying to understand is what this document is. Mr. Bishop, what I am going to do is just ask you to explain to me what is -- what is -- what are you attempting to proceed. What's going on in this case?
MR. BISHOP: Yes, Your Honor. And I'm sorry, I'm really bad with names. I forgot your name.
THE COURT: Monroe.
MR. BISHOP: Monroe. That particular one, several times it was said that I'm acting pro se, but I'm not. It's just me.
THE COURT: Okay. So do you understand -- are you familiar with the legal -- how we use in legal parlance -- in legal language what pro se means?
MR. BISHOP: It means you're representing yourself, you're acting as your own attorney.
THE COURT: Right. Right. Is that what you are attempting to do -- or representing or even going forward without an attorney, which implicit in that means you are acting -- if you choose to act as your own attorney.
MR. BISHOP: I'm not representing myself.
THE COURT: Okay. But you're proceeding -- what you want to do is to go forward without representing yourself or without having someone represents you; is that correct?
MR. BISHOP: Well, what I'd like -- really like very much like to have is effective assistance of counsel. I did hire an attorney originally. I paid him a good deal of money and it was not effective so I had to let him go and I've been unable to find effective assistance of counsel ever since.
THE COURT: Have you screened for assigned counsel?
MR. BISHOP: Meaning a public defender?
THE COURT: Right.
MR. BISHOP: No. Well, one -- but he wouldn't sign my contract.
MR. SANTOS: If I could, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Certainly, certainly.
MR. SANTOS: At the last hearing I believe Mr. Benjamin was here from the public defenders and at that time Judge Smith attempted to assign Mr. Benjamin to the case but I believe the defendant then presented a contract that he wanted Mr. Benjamin to enter. For obvious reasons and as a practice I believe none of the public defenders would sign on any additional contract.
THE COURT: No. No, they are bound by the contractual relationship between the King County's contract and the terms of that contract. Even if they did sign it would be invalid. So they cannot do that. So I think what the situation is Mr. Bishop is that speedy is running on your case and you are either going to have to cut to the chase here -- either you're going to appear without a lawyer or you're going to have to get a lawyer. So those are your two options.
MR. BISHOP: I missed one that you said. Did you say --
THE COURT: One is we're going to have to go forward without a lawyer. The other is you're going to have to get a lawyer and go forward with the lawyer. You have one of two choices. And that is your responsibility to ferret out which one of those is going to apply to you.
MR. BISHOP: Um-hum.
THE COURT: Okay. So are you going forward today without a lawyer?
MR. BISHOP: Yes, obviously I don't have one today.
THE COURT: Okay. So it looks as though there has been an arraignment and -- has there been a waiver of a right to have a lawyer here?
MR. BISHOP: No, ma'am.
THE COURT: And so are you telling this Court that you are not going to sign a waiver, because I'm going to ask you to do it. You know what your choices are.
MR. BISHOP: No, I would like to get -- I would like to get effective assistance of counsel, Your Honor. No question about that. However, I'm actually amazed this thing is still going on. I expected it to be dismissed by now.
THE COURT: Well, no, let's -- it looks as though it's a pretty serious charge here. It's a DUI. And I think you understand the importance of having counsel and sir, it's not really up to you to determine whether or not you have effective assistance of counsel. You bring that issue after you've had the assistance of counsel and then if you don't believe it's effective, you challenge it at that point. You ask for an appeal. But at this time, you cannot go in with a prerequisite of effective assistance. We take as a matter of our profession -- of this profession that all attorneys who practice are competent and effective and then it's up to you after you've been represented by these attorneys, if you do not feel that they have represented you effectively, you have the right to appeal. So, at this point I'm inclined to assign Mr. Benjamin's office to represent you. And the issue of effectiveness comes much later.
MR. BISHOP: Is Mr. Benjamin here?
THE COURT: There are representatives of Mr. Benjamin's office here and has he -- have you -- have you screened -- have you -- do you financially qualify for assigned counsel?
MR. BISHOP: No, I'm not indigent.
THE COURT: Okay. Then why don't you go out and hire your own lawyer, then?
MR. BISHOP: Well, I poured a lot of money into that already to no effect.
THE COURT: Sir, it's not you to judge effectiveness. That is a formal determination by either the bar or by the courts. I mean, you can have a personal opinion as to whether or not it's effective. But the legal finding of ineffective assistance of counsel is a legal finding.
MR. BISHOP: Uh-huh.
THE COURT: So, what are we going to do today?
MR. BISHOP: With all due respect, Your Honor, I made a contract with this gentleman and he didn't fulfill the terms of the contract.
THE COURT: Well, sir, you have dismissed him.
MR. BISHOP: For not fulfilling the terms of the contract.
THE COURT: Then you take him to small claims court and try to get your money back.
MR. BISHOP: Yeah.
THE COURT: That's not where we are in this room right now in this matter. Where we are right now is either you're going forward without counsel, having been dually urged and advised by this Court to go get counsel.
MR. BISHOP: Um-hum.
THE COURT: Or you're going to get screened to see if you qualify for public defender. I don't -- sir, I think you understand the posture of this Court. Your issues with a prior attorney are not the issues that are before this Court. You can deal with those in another way. The issue before this Court right now is called your pretrial. And speedy trial is running. And what is speedy trial as it exists now?
MR. SANTOS: I believe it's January 19th, '05.
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Which would mean it would have to go on next week's jury call.
THE COURT: Right.
MR. BISHOP: Your Honor, I can sign a waiver if that's required of the speedy trial.
THE COURT: Sir, I guess my question is: Are you going to come back here without a lawyer, because you're going to be arguing the same thing. Okay, I'll tell you what we're going to do in this matter. We're going to set this for trial on the trial calendar next week. You come into court, and I urge you to bring a lawyer with you. If you have issues with your prior lawyer that's between you and your prior lawyer. It's not an issue between you and this Court right now. If you are unsatisfied with that representation or dissatisfied with it, you can raise it as a complaint to the bar. You can ask for your money back in small claims court. But that is not what is before this Court. So, Mr. Bishop what I'm going to do at this time is set this for trial. You will have to be back next week and you will have an opportunity -- you can be screened. Is the screener still out there? Do we know?
MR. SANTOS: No, Your Honor. No, I think they leave at noon.
THE COURT: Can he -- when could he screen for assigned counsel?
MR. CROWLEY: Monday, Wednesday and Thursday the screener is here.
THE COURT: Okay. Sir, you could come back Monday and screen for a lawyer to see if you qualify for assigned counsel. If you don't -- you can do that by noon on Monday, you will know the answer. Then you have Monday afternoon and Tuesday to speak and you can get references out there for attorneys who practice in this Court all the time and who are, at least in the eyes of this Court, quite competent to represent you.
MR. BISHOP: That would be a clerk gives references out?
THE COURT: I don't know if they have a list or not but I would -- I would -- Mr. Crowley, if you would like to, I would ask you just to give him some names.
MR. CROWLEY: I could try to provide a number of names of people I know who practice in this court.
THE COURT: That would be greatly appreciated by the Court. This gentleman will give you some names.
MR. BISHOP: And you're saying the trial date is?
THE COURT: The trial date is not Wednesday but the date that sets your trial is Wednesday. That's why you have to be back here in court.
MR. BISHOP: And so is that a pretrial hearing?
THE COURT: It's called a trial setting date.
MR. BISHOP: Okay, because there's other motions that I would like to make.
THE COURT: Sir, then --
MR. BISHOP: And discovery.
THE COURT: You need to tell the judge that's at that pretrial -- at that trial setting calendar what's going on. But I don't know why -- if you're intending to make motions, I don't know why those have not been made yet, if you're going to do them on your own. Sir, you have to -- again, I want to emphasize, you need to come back to court having screened for assigned counsel or having retained counsel of your own choosing. Those are your -- that's what you're going to do by next Wednesday.
MR. BISHOP: Okay. That was -- the other thing I filed was Judge Smith asked me to request a Bill of Particulars for this charge from the prosecuting attorney. So I filed a 10-page -- we should have asked for more time. We asked -- we said it would -- so I filed that.
THE COURT: Well, then raise that motion for your trial date -- for your trial setting date.
MR. BISHOP: He had told me -- Mr. Santos told me that he has not had the opportunity to review that yet.
MR. SANTOS: I just received that yesterday, Your Honor, and it's rather lengthy.
THE COURT: Mr. Santos, I -- Mr. Bishop is willing to waive speedy and if there is a meeting of the mind on that I won't force things to happen on Wednesday because we may be in the same situation, so if you want to waive speedy and reset this I'm going to leave that up to you. I'm going to leave it up to the State.
MR. SANTOS: Your Honor, I just wanted to clarify because I wasn't sure whether or not the defendant understood the last thing that if we reset to another pretrial hearing that at that time his motions will not be heard. At that point we will only decide whether we will move on to motions in trial.
THE COURT: Right.
MR. SANTOS: That was his concern at the last pretrial. He wanted to be heard on motions and so.
THE COURT: Nope.
MR. BISHOP: Okay. And that would give time for Mr. Santos to review the documentation, right?
THE COURT: If you waive your right to a speedy trial --
MR. BISHOP: Yes, ma'am.
THE COURT: Do you understand what a speedy trial is?
MR. BISHOP: Yes, it's within 90 days.
THE COURT: Sir, do you understand that that is also a critical decision of yours to make, and that if you waive it today you are making it without access to counsel?
MR. BISHOP: Yes, ma'am.
THE COURT: And are you doing that voluntarily?
MR. BISHOP: Yes, ma'am.
THE COURT: Okay. What we're going to do is waive your right to speedy trial. It's going to expire in 90 days. Are we doing it 90 days from today?
MR. SANTOS: Yes, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Okay. Ninety days from today and I'm going to ask you to sign that. I'm going to ask you to sign a waiver of your right to have counsel for today only, because I want it attached to this speedy trial.
MR. BISHOP: Yes, ma'am, I'll do that for today only.
THE COURT: Okay. We'll indicate that it's only in regard to this waiver of speedy trial that he is waiving right to counsel.
MR. SANTOS: Oh, okay.
THE COURT: Okay. If you could -- and then, sir, I want you to understand very clearly the next time you come into court you will not be arguing motions. You will set a motions argument the next time you come to court.
MR. BISHOP: To be heard?
THE COURT: To be heard.
MR. BISHOP: Right.
THE COURT: And still be screened for assigned counsel or either to retain a counsel. Mr. Crowley is going to give you some names of counsels that you may -- or attorneys you may want to call. Okay? Okay. And just for the record this is in regardto case number C-534232.
MR. SANTOS: Thank you, Your Honor.
THE COURT: Thank you, Mr. Bishop. I am going to just note for the record that you are signing this without prejudice. It will also -- I'm going to note or the docket will note that you signed this waiver for the purposes of resetting this for a pretrial. Okay. And that you're not permanently waiving your right to counsel, it was for the purpose of -- I'm sorry, for the purposes of signing the speedy trial waiver only. Let the docket reflect that Mr. Bishop signed the speedy trial waiver or he waived -- he waived his right to counsel only for the purposes of signing this speedy trial waiver. Okay. If you could see --
UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: And did I hear something about a Bill of Particulars?
THE COURT: Yes. He has submitted a request for a Bill of Particulars -- a motion for a Bill of Particulars to the prosecutor. And Mr. Santos, if that could be responded to in the next two weeks it would give him time -- your next pretrial will be approximately 30 days from today. Okay.
MR. SANTOS: Sure.
THE COURT: Okay. If you could see the clerk, that concludes this matter.
MR. BISHOP: Thank you, Your Honor.