All Content

Posted by: Barry Kolar on Mar 14, 2013

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Manuel B. Russ, Nashville, Tennessee, on appeal, for the appellant, James Richardson Reece.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Attorney General and Reporter; Meredith DeVault, Senior Counsel; L. Ray Whitley, District Attorney General; and Tara Wyllie, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): WILLIAMS

James Richardson Reece, the defendant, was arrested for an aggravated assault which occurred in a workshop underneath his apartment. Immediately after his arrest, the defendant began to challenge the actions of the Sumner County court system, filing numerous documents with this Court and the Tennessee Supreme Court and suing various persons and entities in federal court. The lower courts appointed four separate attorneys to represent the defendant, but each moved to withdraw. At the defendant’s urging, the trial court allowed the defendant to waive his right to counsel. When the defendant subsequently requested counsel on the eve of trial, the trial court refused to appoint an attorney. A jury convicted the defendant of aggravated assault, a Class C felony. On appeal, the defendant asserts he was denied the right to counsel and challenges the sufficiency of the convicting evidence. Although the evidence supported the conviction, we conclude that the defendant did not waive or forfeit his right to counsel and reverse and remand for a new trial.