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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Sep 8, 2014

Court: TN Court of Criminal Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Ricky A.W. Curtis (on appeal), Blountville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael L. Hufford; Michael L. Hufford (at trial), Blountville, Tennessee, pro se.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Benjamin A. Ball, Senior Counsel; Barry Staubus, District Attorney General; and Leslie A. Foglia, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Judge(s): PAGE

In his first trial, appellant, Michael L. Hufford, was convicted of eleven counts of harassment involving two victims. He was convicted in a second trial of driving with a suspended or revoked license, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Appellant represented himself during the first trial. However, on the morning of the second trial, he indicated a desire to have the trial continued so he could retain counsel. The trial court assented but conditioned the continuance upon raising appellant’s bond. Appellant withdrew his request for a continuance, proceeded to trial, and was found guilty on all counts. The trial court imposed an effective sentence of seven consecutive terms of eleven months, twentynine days at seventy-five percent release eligibility with three terms to serve and four to be suspended to probation. Appellant raises the following issues in this direct appeal: (1) whether appellant’s waiver of his right to counsel was valid; (2) whether the trial court prohibited appellant from presenting legal issues to the jury; (3) whether the evidence was sufficient to sustain appellant’s convictions for harassment; and (4) whether the trial court erred in sentencing him. Following our review, we affirm the judgments and sentences for the eleven counts of harassment for which he is incarcerated. However, because appellant’s right to counsel was violated in the second trial, we must reverse appellant’s convictions for driving with a suspended or revoked license, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia and remand for proceedings consistent with this opinion.