McGhee v. Dittmann (Seventh Circuit)
When a criminal defendant knowingly and voluntarily waives the assistance of counsel and seeks to represent himself at trial, the Sixth Amendment requires the court to grant the request. At his state criminal trial, Mr. McGhee asked to discharge his appointed defense counsel, and asked that he be permitted to respond to the state’s case by speaking up for himself. The trial court denied the motion to withdraw counsel, but did not address his request for self-representation. Mr. McGhee later argued that his state appellate counsel was ineffective for failing to raise the Sixth Amendment claim. The Seventh Circuit appointed us to represent Mr. McGhee in his federal habeas petition challenging the state court’s denial of his right to self-representation.