from the Superior Court, No. 3AN-12-12699 CR, Third Judicial
District, Anchorage, Michael L. Wolverton, Philip R. Volland,
and Michael R. Spaan, Judges.
Laurence Blakely, Assistant Public Defender, and Quinlan
Steiner, Public Defender, Anchorage, for the Appellant.
A. Ringsmuth, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Criminal
Appeals, Anchorage, and Jahna Lindemuth, Attorney General,
Juneau, for the Appellee.
Before: Mannheimer, Chief Judge, Allard, Judge, and Suddock,
Superior Court Judge. [*]
Leonard Massey Jr. was charged with second-degree escape for
leaving the halfway house where he had been placed by the
Department of Corrections. Prior to trial, Massey requested
multiple representation hearings because he was unhappy with
his appointed counsel. At the final pretrial representation
hearing, Massey asked to waive his right to counsel and to
represent himself. The judge presiding over this pretrial
hearing told Massey that he would give him time to think
about this decision, and that the court would address
Massey's self-representation request at the next pretrial
hearing. But at the next hearing, when Massey renewed his
request to represent himself, the judge did not conduct the
promised self-representation inquiry - and when Massey tried
to object, the judge would not let him personally address the
at the trial call in Massey's case, held in front of a
different judge, Massey again tried to renew his request to
represent himself. This second judge told Massey (mistakenly)
that the first judge had already resolved this issue. When
Massey personally protested that this was not the case, the
court ignored Massey's protests and Massey's attorney
did not pursue the matter further. Massey's case
proceeded to a bench trial (with Massey represented by
counsel), and Massey was convicted.
present appeal, Massey argues that he was denied his right of
self-representation. The record shows that Massey clearly and
unequivocally invoked his right of self-representation, but
he never received the self-representation hearing to which he
was entitled. We therefore reverse his conviction.
December 2, 2012, Massey was arrested on charges of theft and
resisting arrest. Massey could not obtain release on bail,
and the Department of Corrections transferred him from the
Anchorage jail to the Cordova Center, a halfway house. The
next day, Massey was reported missing from the Cordova
Center. He was located and arrested four months later, and
charged with escape.
Public Defender Agency was appointed to represent Massey, but
Massey became dissatisfied with the agency's
representation, and he repeatedly asked for another attorney.
Superior Court Judge Michael L. Wolverton, who presided over
the pretrial hearings in Massey's case, denied each of
Massey's requests for substitute counsel.
final pretrial representation hearing, held on August 4,
2014, after Judge Wolverton again denied Massey's request
for a new lawyer, Massey asked, "Can I go pro se?"
When Judge Wolverton asked Massey, "Do you want to
represent yourself?" Massey answered, "Yes. Yes,
Wolverton told Massey that he would give him some additional
time to think about whether he wanted to represent himself.
Massey answered that he wanted to represent himself, and that
the court could hold the inquiry right then. Judge Wolverton
told Massey that they would talk about his request for
self-representation at the pretrial conference scheduled for
two days later, on August 6, 2014.
pretrial conference was delayed for three weeks, until August
27. When Massey's case was called at this pretrial
conference, his attorney told Judge Wolverton that Massey was
renewing his request to represent himself. But instead of
taking up Massey's request, as he had promised, the judge
ignored Massey's request and instead began questioning
the attorneys if they were ready for trial. Both of the
attorneys indicated that they were ready. Massey tried to
personally interject, but was not allowed to speak.
week later, at a trial call held on September 2 in front of
Superior Court Judge Philip R. Volland, Massey's attorney
noted that Massey had requested to represent himself, and the
attorney told Judge Volland that it was not clear
"[whether] Judge Wolverton ever made a final
determination on that." Massey also told Judge Volland
that he thought he "was ...