Appellate Division, Fourth Department
Proceeding Pro Se
People v. Wilson
Appealed from Steuben County Court
Background: At a Sex Offender Registration Act proceeding, the defendant represented himself. On appeal, he contended that the judge failed to perform the required “searching inquiry” when evaluating his request to proceed pro se.
Ruling: the defendants have a statutory right to counsel in SORA proceedings, and may also proceed pro se. But to invoke the latter right, the request must be properly made, and the judge must make a searching inquiry to ensure that the waiver is knowing, intelligent and voluntary. That did not occur here. Telling the defendant, “you might be better served” by having assigned counsel was insufficient.
Lyle T. Hajdu for the defendant; Amanda M. Chafee for the Steuben County District Attorney