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United States v. Hamett, 961 F.3d 1249 (10th Cir. June 15, 2020)

Jun 15, 2020

In the middle of his trial on kidnapping and weapons charges, the defendant elected to waive his right to counsel.  Appealing his subsequent conviction, the defendant argued that the waiver was invalid because it was not made knowingly and intelligently.  The Tenth Circuit agreed, holding that the district court’s colloquy with the defendant regarding the waiver was constitutionally inadequate under Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975), because the court mistakenly understated the maximum penalty and failed to inform the defendant of the elements of the charged crimes or possible defenses.