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Davis v. State

Court of Appeals of Indiana

July 31, 2019

Quintin D. E. Davis, Appellant-Defendant,
State of Indiana, Appellee-Plaintiff.

          Appeal from the Delaware Circuit Court The Honorable Marianne Vorhees, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 18C01-1801-F6-21

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Alan K. Wilson Muncie, Indiana.

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Samuel J. Dayton Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

          RILEY, JUDGE.


         [¶1] Appellant-Defendant, Quintin D.E. Davis (Davis), appeals his conviction for domestic battery, a Class A misdemeanor, Ind. Code § 35-42-2-1.3(a)(1).

         [¶2] We affirm.


         [¶3] Davis presents this court with one issue on appeal, which we restate as: Whether the trial court abused its discretion by denying Davis' request for appointment of counsel made during the bench trial and more than one year after affirming his request for self-representation.


         [¶4] Davis and L.W. met at their place of employment during June or July 2017. They began dating one month later and in September 2017, they moved into an apartment, together with L.W.'s two children from a previous relationship. On January 1, 2018, Davis and L.W. argued when Davis intended to drink the last bottle of Pepsi. L.W. squeezed the bottom of the bottle, spilling the Pepsi. In response, Davis grabbed her bag of Skittles. When L.W. did not react, Davis banged her phone against the side of the bed and shattered the screen. At that point, L.W. was "ready to leave." (Transcript p. 74). However, Davis apologized and gave L.W. his phone to break, which she did.

         [¶5] The following morning, L.W. started packing her belongings, intending to move out. Davis grabbed L.W.'s cigarettes and they began to argue. He pushed L.W. and caused her to fall on top of her two-year-old son. When L.W. moved towards her closet, Davis pinned her down and hit her in the face. She fought her way towards the entrance of the bedroom before Davis pinned her arms to her legs. L.W.'s daughter, who was down the hall, started crying. L.W. managed to free herself by biting Davis' chin and she escaped to the neighbor's apartment where she called 911. After making the call, she returned to the apartment and Davis and L.W. began "going at it again." (Tr. p. 76). Davis grabbed L.W.'s laptop out of her hands and broke it in two pieces. L.W. lost her balance, and fell on a glass table which Davis kicked in an attempt to shatter it. Shortly thereafter, police officers arrived. While the officers attempted to arrest him, Davis talked loudly and used profanity directed at the officers. He tensed his arms, balled his fists, and was non-compliant with the officers' orders.

         [¶6] On January 9, 2018, the State filed an Information, charging Davis with Count I, battery against a public safety officer, a Level 6 felony; Count II, domestic battery, a Class A misdemeanor; and Count III, resisting law enforcement, a Class A misdemeanor. On January 17, 2018, during the pre-trial hearing, Davis informed the trial court that he intended to represent himself. The trial court noted the request and set it for a hearing. On January 24, 2018, the trial court conducted a hearing to address Davis' request to represent himself. Davis advised the trial court that he was twenty-six, had a high school diploma, and had completed some college education. He did not have any learning disabilities, and understood and read the English language. Davis disclosed that he had never before participated in a jury trial, but had been charged with a Class A misdemeanor in the past. Davis confirmed that although he had the right to have an attorney appointed for him, he wanted to waive that right and instead represent himself. He affirmed that he had made that choice voluntarily and out of his own free will. The trial court proceeded to explain the disadvantages of self-representation versus the advantages of being represented by an attorney, trained in the rules of evidence and procedural mechanisms. Davis acknowledged that he understood the trial court's cautionary advice but wanted to proceed pro se. Finding Davis competent, the trial court concluded that he had voluntarily waived his right to an attorney and advised him that "if [he] d[id] want an attorney at any time, all [he] ha[d] to do [wa]s send [the court] a letter, or a motion, and" the trial court would assign Davis an attorney. (Tr. p. 17).

         [¶7] During the pre-trial hearing of September 12, 2018, the trial court enquired after Davis' preferred bench trial date setting, either December 20, 2018 or January 24, 2019. Davis explicitly confirmed the latter date. On November 19, 2018, Davis signed a discovery receipt acknowledging that he had received the charging Information and ...

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