Longo v. City of Dunwoody

Court: Georgia Court of Appeals
Case Number: A19A1079
Decision Date: September 06, 2019
Case Type: Criminal Procedure
Following a guilty plea and conviction in the Dunwoody Municipal Court for violating city ordinance  by performing construction on a residence without a permit, the defendant filed a petition for a writ of certiorari to the superior court claiming that he was denied his right to counsel. The Superior Court, DeKalb County, ruled that the defendant had waived his right to counsel. The defendant filed an application to the Court of Appeals for discretionary review.
The Court of Appeals found that where a non-indigent defendant has not invoked his right to represent himself at trial, but has also failed to hire an attorney to represent him, the determination of whether he validly waived his right to counsel does not turn upon whether he knowingly and intelligently chose to proceed pro se, but instead depends on whether the non-indigent defendant exercised reasonable diligence in securing representation. The Superior Court found that the defendant had waived his right to counsel by failing to exercise due diligence in hiring or applying for counsel in municipal court following full apprisal of his right to an attorney and that this did not constitute reversible error in his trial for violation of a city ordinance. The Superior Court reviewed the entire record before concluding that the municipal court was not required to conduct any more inquiry into why defendant had appeared without counsel at trial than it already had, and the record supported finding defendant waived his right to counsel. The Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed the Superior Court’s decision.