from a judgment and an order of the circuit court for Racine
County Cir. Ct. No. 2011CF414: WAYNE J. MAPJK, ALLAN B.
TORHORST and DAVID W. PAULSON, Judges. Affirmed.
Neubauer, C.J., Reilly, P.J., and Gundrum, J.
Michael L. Washington appeals from his conviction for
burglary and resisting an officer and a postconviction order
denying his motion for a new trial. Washington
asserts that his convictions should be vacated and he should
be granted a new trial as his absence from the entirety of
his jury trial violated his statutory right to be present
under WIS. STAT. § 971.04(1) (2013-14).We affirm as
Washington waived his statutory right to be present.
Washington was charged with burglary and obstructing an
officer, stemming from an incident on April 1, 2011, where
Washington entered R.V.'s apartment in Racine. Washington
was apprehended a short distance from R.V.'s apartment
and had to be tased after failing to heed police
instructions. Washington had two bags full of R.V.'s
Washington's first two appointed attorneys requested the
court's permission to withdraw, citing "a break down
in [the] relationship, " an inability to
"effectively prepare a defense for this case, " and
Washington's "[refusal] to acknowledge the evidence
against him." When the second attorney withdrew, the
trial court expressed its concern that Washington was
engaging in a pattern of ignoring his attorneys' advice
and the court would not allow another attorney to withdraw
based on "difficulty in communication."
Washington's third attorney also requested to withdraw.
The trial court initially granted the request, but then
rescinded it due to Washington's speedy trial demand. On
the eve of trial, Washington's attorney again requested
to withdraw, which the court refused as Washington's
behavior was "an act of manipulation."
The next day, after the jury was chosen but before being
sworn, trial counsel informed the court that she learned some
new information that might be exculpatory of Washington. The
court dismissed the jury and adjourned the trial. At the next
hearing date, trial counsel again submitted a motion to
withdraw, citing Washington's belief that counsel was not
"adequately representing him." The trial court
expressed its continued concern that "we have a pattern
developing where no matter who is appointed to represent you
if they don't tell you what you want to hear you're
going to not get along with them and you're going to ask
them to withdraw. And I can see this going on
indefinitely." The trial court denied the motion to
At the beginning of the second scheduled trial, trial counsel
told the court that Washington had been uncooperative:
"[Washington] stated that I was not his attorney. And
refused to speak to me about [the case]." Washington and
the trial court then engaged in the following exchange:
THE COURT: Well, sir, we've been down this road so many
times over and over and over.
DEFENDANT: And we can keep going over and over it again.
THE COURT: No, we're-
DEFENDANT: She's not representing me, man.
THE COURT: Sir, the matter is set for trial.
DEFENDANT: I don't know what it's set for, she