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Denial of right to self-representation — competence to represent oneself; search and seizure — probable cause, automobile exception

State v. Robert L. Tatum, Case No. 2011AP2439-CR, District 1, 1/29/13; court of appeals decision (not recommended for publication); case activity

Denial of right to self-representation – competence to represent oneself

The circuit court properly denied Tatum the right to represent himself based on his limited education and understanding of legal procedures, as evidenced by his statements and behavior in court. (¶13). While the circuit court found Tatum competent to proceed under Wis. Stat. § 971.14, that standard differs from competence to represent oneself. (¶12).

Search and seizure – probable cause to search; automobile exception

Police had probable cause to search Tatum’s vehicle for evidence of a shooting based on various witness statements about his connection to the house where shooting occurred and the whereabouts of his car. (¶¶7, 23). Further, the car was lawfully searched and seized without a warrant under the automobile exception, which is based on the ready mobility of cars, even though Tatum had been arrested and claimed it was his “primary residence” and therefore entitled to greater privacy. (¶¶7, 24-25).

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