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United States v. Hansen, 929 F.3d 1238 (10th Cir. July 15, 2019)

Jul 15, 2019

Hansen appealed his conviction for tax evasion and obstruction asserting his waiver of his right to counsel was not made knowingly and intelligently.  The district court asked Hansen, among other things, if he understood that he would need to follow the rules of evidence and procedure if he proceeded to trial without counsel.  “Hansen’s response was at best ambiguous and unclear; at one juncture, he specifically told the court that he did not understand that he would be required to abide by these rules.”  Nonetheless, the district court accepted the waiver.  The court held that the district court failed to engage in a sufficiently thorough colloquy to “properly warn him under the circumstances of this case that – if he proceeded pro se – he would be obliged to adhere to federal procedural and evidentiary rules.”