United States v. Hausa, No. 18-566 (2d Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
The Second Circuit affirmed defendant's conviction on five counts related to his participation in attacks on United States and coalition forces in Afghanistan while a member of al‐Qaeda. The court held that it was not error to deny a defendant's purported waiver of the right to counsel if, like defendant here, the defendant prevented the court from fulfilling its obligation to ensure that a Sixth Amendment waiver was knowing and intelligent. Furthermore, even if a waiver of counsel was knowing and intelligent, a trial court may deny the right to act pro se where the defendant deliberately engages in serious and obstructionist misconduct, or is not able and willing to abide by rules of procedure and courtroom protocol. In this case, defendant's obstruction was independent support for the denial of his purported waiver of counsel where the misconduct was egregious and intolerable by any measure: he hummed and screamed, and rambled incoherently; he cursed at the judge, declared him an enemy and threatened to kill him.
The court also held that defendant's claim that 18 U.S.C. 2332(b)(2), conspiracy to kill U.S. nationals, was rendered domestic by its incorporation of 18 U.S.C. 1111, which penalized murder within the jurisdiction of the Unites States, and that the evidence at trial proved a conspiracy to murder American soldiers only in Afghanistan, was without merit.