State v. Campbell

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State of M aryland v. Be rnard Ca mpbell a.k.a . Sean K elly, No. 63, September Term, 2004. Criminal Law: Trial. A defen dant's right to dis charge co unsel, to permit either substitution of counsel or self-representation, is curtailed once meaningful trial proceedings have commenced because the mandatory nature of Maryland Rule 4-215(e) is inapplicable. The decision to permit discharge of counsel after trial has be gun is within the trial court s discretion through inquiry of the defendant s reasons for the request in consideration of the factors delineated in State v. Brown, 342 Md. 404, 676 A.2d. 513 (1996). Under the circumstances of this case, the defendant s expressed dissatisfaction with his attorney during trial qualified as a request to discharge counsel because the defendant s reasons for wanting to dismiss his cou nsel w ere app arent. The trial judge was not required to make any further inquiry an d prop erly denie d the req uest to d ischarg e coun sel. IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF MARYLAND No. 63 September Term, 2004 STATE OF MARYLAND v. BERNARD CAMPBELL A/K/A SEAN KELLY Bell, C.J. Raker Wilner Cathell Harrell Battaglia Greene, JJ. Opinion by Battaglia, J. Bell, C.J. and Raker, J. Dissent Filed: March 15, 2005 In this case we are asked to consider whether the defendant, Bernard Campbell, a.k.a. Sean Kelly, made a request to discharge counsel when he expressed dissatisfaction with his attorney during trial. If C ampbell s s tatements co nstitute a request to discharge counsel, we also must determ ine wheth er the trial court p roperly denied the request. We conclude that under the circumstances of this case, Campbell s expressed dissatisfaction with his attorney qualified as a request to d ischarge co unsel that w as properly de nied by the trial co urt. I. Facts and Procedural History On November 16, 2001, Destiny Cam pbell, then thirte en month s old, was in the care and custody of her father, Bernard Campbell, when she suffered second degree burns to her lower torso and legs, a deep-colored bruise on her left cheek, a small cut across her nose, and a skull fracture. She was rushed to the hospital by her mother and treated by doctors, who called the Baltimore County Police Department to report Destiny s injuries. Baltimore County Police beg an an inve stigation of th e incident, qu estioned Campbell, inspected h is home, and obtained a w arrant for Campb ell s arrest. Campbell was arre sted and charged with two counts of child abuse 1 and three c ounts of a ssault. 2 1 Campb ell was cha rged with two cou nts of child abuse under Md. Code (1957, 1996 Repl. Vo l., 2000 Cu m. Supp .), Art. 27 § 35 C, which stated in relev ant part: (b) <Violation constitutes felony; penalty; sentencing.> (1) A parent or other person who has permanent or temporary care or custody or responsibility for the supervision of a child or a househo ld or family member who causes abuse to the child is guilty of a felony and on conviction is subject to imprisonment in the penitentiary for not more than 15 years. Section 35C was recodified without substantive change as Md. Code (2002), § 3-601 (contin ued...) Sub sequ ently, Campb ell s case w as set for trial bu t was interru pted after Campbell became disruptive during the course of the p roceed ings. The trial judge declared a mistrial after an evaluation of Campbell s competency yielded a conclusion that, in fact, Ca mpbell was co mpete nt but ex hibited a history of maling ering. At the second trial, Campbell s attorney, who had been trial counsel for the first time as well, had the following colloquy prior to Campbell being brought into the courtroom: [CAM PBELL S COUNSEL ]: I[ d] just like to just let the court be aware that I am a little bit ap prehen sive. I have a client that s off the hook, s o to say. One of the reaso ns why w e are still with that case is because when we were trying this case before Judge Cahill he went off and started throwing things and screaming and yelling in the court and the judge stopped the proceeding near the end of the State s case and had him NCR. He comes back with a high score in the h istory of malingering. That s what they said, Your Honor. So I told him today that we have to make an election [i.e., whether to elect a cou rt or a jury trial]. 1 (...continued) of the Criminal Law Article. 2 Campbell was cha rged with two cou nts of first-de gree assau lt and one c ount of the lesser include d offe nse of second -degre e assau lt under Md. C ode (19 57, 199 6 Rep l. Vol., 2000 C um. Sup p.), Art. 27 §§ 12A an d 12A-1 , which state d in part: (a) <Serious physical injury; use of a firearm.> (1) A person may not intentionally cause or attempt to cause serious physical injury to another. *** (b) <Penalty.> A person who violates this section is guilty of the felony of assault in the first degree and on conviction is subject to imprisonment for not more than 25 years. Sections 12A and 12A-1 were recodified without substantive change as Md. Code (2002), §§ 3-202 and 3-203 of the Criminal Law Article. 2 THE CO UR T: O kay. [CAM PBELL S COUNSEL]: And he is determined not to make an election, he has a lot of things he d like to say to the co urt. And he is threaten ing me an d that s where my apprehension comes in, You r Honor. Deputies escorted C ampbell in to the courtro om, and C ampbell elected to be tried by a jury. Campbell then stated: [CAM PBELL ]: Okay - I say Your Honor - I would like a postponement because of the fact that this guy didn t come see me, talk to me abou t this case in nine months since the first case in April. And on the behalf that I have somebody in this very same townhouse complex th at daughter had got burnt by the same hot water that my daughter got burnt in and she - would like for her to come to court to testify as a witness saying that her daughter got burnt by mistake at the same place in the hot water. And I got this defe nse on m y side this man do not know nothing about. And I need a postponement for me to subpoena her to court to say this in front of the jury so, therefore, I have a lot of things g oing for m e in my defe nse that I like to bring up as well . Campbell s attorney responded that he had visited Campbell several times in the last month and that Campbell s witness was not material to the case. The trial court recessed the case to have the admin istrative judge consider C ampbell s re quest for p ostponem ent, which was denied. Follo wing the r ecess, Cam pbell told the c ourt that he would lik e to challenge the array of the jury, to which the court explained that such a challenge could not be made until there was an array. When asked by the court whether there was anything else, Ca mpbe ll replied : No. N ot until th e trial starts . 3 While the judge discussed the questions to be asked during voir dire of the potential jury members, Campbell indicated that he wanted to address the court, and the following dialogue occurred: THE COU RT: What would you want to say if you came up? [CAMPBE LL]: I bring it up later. We bring it up. [CAM PBELL S COUN SEL]: Your Honor, M r. just to let the court know because it s going to come up, Your Honor, my client has done some attempt to acquaint himself with the law while he s been locked up. He has done some reading in the area of the law. And he s read just enough to think now that he can take over this case . He wan ts to c halle nge the ju ry arra y. We don t know who is in the jury array. And he wants, he has some argum ent about conflict of interests. I THE C OUR T: Who s conflict of interest? [CAM PBELL S COUNSEL ]: I can t see it, Your Honor, but that s wha t he wants to talk to you ab out. THE C OUR T: I have n o idea wh at it s about. [CAM PBELL ]: That s Your Honor, we bring it up, we w ill bring it up. THE CO UR T: O kay. [CAMPBE LL]: We will bring it up. The trial proceedings continued and at the close of the State s case-in-chief, Campbell s counsel as ked for a b rief recess b ecause C ampbell w as interested in the plea [agreem ent] that was initially offered [by the State]. After a short recess, Camp bell s counsel stated that C ampbell h ad refused the State s of fer. Therea fter, Camp bell again 4 wanted to address the court and the following conversation ensued: THE CO UR T: Y es sir . Wh at do you w ant to say? [CAM PBELL ]: [My attorney], this guy right here, my public defender, Your Hono r, he told me that just a few minutes ago that I already lost the case, the jury ain t like me, the jury, before even the case was started, the jury was already going to convict me a ny wa y. I don t like this man as my rep resenta tive. He ain t have my best interest at heart. He told me I am dumb just a few minutes ago, that I deserve this, that I should get all these years, and he is my representative. How is he going to tell me this and he representing me? THE COURT: Well, let me ask you this; Would you rather have a lawyer tell you, I mean, let s say you could pick anybody, and one lawyer will tell you exactly what you want to hear, not what the lawyer re ally thinks from th eir expe rience. T hey will tell you, Oh, you know, it is going to be fine, everything is okay, you have a great shot, and everything like that, what you want to hear. Or, would yo u rather have a lawyer tell you what the lawyer honestly thinks from their experience. I would think I would want, if it was me, I would rather have somebody tell me the truth when I am facing, what you are facing. Now, all [your attorney] can do is give you his advice. That is all a lawyer can do. [CAM PBELL ]: That is a conflict with the attorney. That is a conflict. We had conflicts way before this ever started, man in the first trial. THE COURT: Well, w e are beyond that at this point, sir. We are now at the point where I guess we are ready to go to the jury if there is no other evidence. 5 [CAM PBELL ]: This ain t no fair trial. The man told m e he ain t going to represent me. THE COURT: He is representing you. He hasn t done anything to not represent you. [CAMPB ELL]: Under f orce, becau se you all wo uldn t let me fire him . THE COURT : Okay. Well, now, he says you do not w ant to testify; is that correct? [CAMP BELL]: Yes. THE COURT: Okay. All right. Is there any other evidence, [Campbe ll s Counsel], that you have to offe r? [CA MPB ELL S CO UNS EL]: N o, You r Hon or. The trial proceeded with instructions to the jury and closing arguments. On the same day, the jury returned its verdict and found C ampbell guilty of child abuse and first-degree assault. Thereafter, on April 2, 2003, the trial judge imp osed a fifte en-year senten ce for child abuse a nd a co nsecut ive twe nty-five-ye ar sente nce fo r first-de gree as sault. On appeal to the Court of Special Appeals, Campbell argued that the Circuit Court s denial of his request to discharge c ounsel should be re versed because the judge did not properly inquire about the reasons for his request. In an unreported opinion, the Court o f Special Appea ls agreed with Campbell that the trial judge should have m ade further inquiry based upon C ampbell s s tatements th at his attorney did no t have his b est interests at he art and that the two had conflicts way before this ever started. In the view of the Court of Special Appeals, the Circuit Court briefly opined on the quality of Campbell s attorney rather 6 than assessing the reaso ns for th e reque st, whic h amo unted to an abu se of d iscretion . The State filed a petition for writ of certiorari in this Co urt to consider the following question: Did the Co urt of Sp ecia l Appeal s majority m isapply State v. Brown, 342 Md. 404, 676 A.2d. 513 (1996), to conclude that additional inquiry is required when a defendant raises a mid-trial complaint about his counsel, but does not explicitly ask to discharge counsel, and the trial court has responded to the complaint raised? We granted the petition and issued the writ of certiorari, 382 Md. 688, 856 A.2d 724 (2004). We reverse the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals, even though we agree that Campbell s request was adequate to trigger a mandatory inquiry by the trial judge about Campbell s reasons for seeking to discharge his counse l, because we hold th at Campbell s request occurred after meaningful trial proceedings had begun and the trial judge d id not abuse h is discre tion in d enying th e reque st for dis charge . II. Discussion The State contends that the Court of Special Appeals erred in concluding that an additional inquiry into the reasons for a disch arge of co unsel requ est was req uired in this case pursuant to our decision in State v. Brown, 342 Md. 404, 676 A.2d 513 (1996). In the State s view, Campbell s statements to the trial court we re comp laints and d id not rise to the level of a request to discharge counsel. Alternatively, the State argues that if C ampbell s complaints are found to be a requ est to discharg e counse l, the request w as untimely because meaningful trial proceedings had commenced. Furthermore, the State asserts that 7 the judge suf ficiently acknowledged Campbell s request and made a reasonable assessment that the r equest lacked merit. Campb ell argues that a request to discharge counsel is not required to b e artfully worded or precisely esp oused, an d that his statem ents amounted to a request for new counsel, which was not properly addressed by the lower court. Campbell maintains that in assessing a request for discharge of counsel even when made after the trial begins, the judge must still determine the reason for the request before deciding whether a dismissal sh ould be allowed. According to Campbell, if the judge had conducted the proper inquiry the request to discharge might have been granted. Therefore, Campbell argues that the Court of Special Appea ls was correct in its conclusion that the trial court had not p roperly ascertained the reason s for C ampb ell s requ est to dis charge couns el. A. Request to Discharge Counsel A defendant s request to discharge counsel implicates two fund amental rights that are guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution:3 the right to the 3 The Sixth Amendmen t states: In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district w herein the crime sh all have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have com pulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assista nce of Coun sel for h is defen ce. U.S. C ONST. amen d. VI. (contin ued...) 8 assistance of cou nsel an d the rig ht of se lf-repre sentatio n. See State v. Brown, 342 Md. 404, 412-13, 676 A.2 d 513, 51 7 (1996); Fowlkes v. State, 311 Md. 586, 589, 536 A.2d 1149, 1151 (1988); Parren v . State, 309 Md. 260, 262-63 523 A.2d 59 7, 598 (19 87); Leonard v. State, 302 Md. 111, 119, 486 A.2d 16 3, 166 (19 87); Snead v. S tate, 286 Md. 122, 123, 406 A.2d 98, 99 (1979). The right to counsel may be waived by the defendant provided that he knows what he is doing and his choice is made with his eyes open. Fowlkes, 311 Md. at 589, 536 A.2d at 1151 quoting Adams v. United States ex rel. McCann, 317 U.S . 269, 279, 6 3 S.Ct. 236, 242, 87 L.Ed. 268, 275 (1942). A waiver of the right to counsel must ordinarily [be] an intentional relinquishment or abandonment of a known right or privilege. Leonard, 302 Md. at 119, 486 A.2d at 167. In circumstances wh ere a defendant elects to fo rego the ass istance of c ounsel to 3 (...continued) Article 21 of the Maryland Declaration of R ights, also protective of the defen dant s right to coun sel, states: That in all criminal prosecutions, every man hath a right to be informed of the accusation against him; to have a copy of the Indictmen t, or charge, in due time (if required) to prepare for his defence; to be allow ed couns el; to be con fronted with the witnesses against him; to have process for his witnesses; to examine the witnesses for and against him on oath; and to a speedy trial by an impartial jury, without whose unanimous consent he ought not to be found guilty. The right to counsel provisions of Article 21 o f the Ma ryland Decla ration of R ights are in pari mate ria with the sixth amendment. Leonard, 302 Md. at 119 n.1, 486 A.2d at 167 n.1 citing Sites v. State, 300 Md. 70 2, 712 n.3, 4 81 A.2d 192, 197 n.3 (1984 ); Parren, 309 M d. at 262, 52 3 A.2d a t 598; see also Fowlkes, 311 Md. at 589, 536 A.2d at 1151. 9 represent himself, the c ourt must p ermit the defendant to proceed pro se if the reque st is timely and un equivo cal. See Brown, 342 Md. at 413-14, 676 A.2d at 518; Fowlkes, 311 Md. at 589, 536 A.2d at 1151, citing Faretta v. Californ ia, 422 U.S. 806, 807, 95 S.Ct. 2525, 2527, 45 L.Ed.2d 562 (1975). Because a defendant, by choosing to represent himse lf, is waiving the right to counsel, the court must conduct an inquiry to ensure th at the defendant s waiver of counsel is knowing and intelligen t. See Brown, 342 Md. at 414, 676 A.2d at 518, citing Johnson v. Zerbst, 304 U.S. 458, 464-65, 58 S.Ct. 1019, 1023, 82 L .Ed.2d 1461 (1938); Fowlkes, 311 Md. at 589, 536 A.2d at 1151; Snead, 286 Md. at 130, 406 A.2d at 102. Alte rnatively, a defendant may elect to discharge his counsel to obtain substitute counsel. Under these circumstances, the defendant m ust be affo rded an o pportunity to explain the reasons for the requ est and on ly may substitute counsel if good cause is shown, although the defendant is not entitled to substitute a specific appointed attorney if represented by the Office of the Public Defender. See Brown, 342 Md. at 414, 676 A.2d at 518; Grandison v. State, 341 Md. 175, 199-204, 670 A.2d 398, 410-11 (1995); Fowlkes, 311 Md. at 605, 536 A.2d at 1159. In this case w e first must decide whether Campbell s statements should have been construed as a request to discharge counsel. Maryland Rule 4-215(e) outlines the procedures a court must follow when a defendant desires to discharge his counsel to proceed pro se or to substitute co unsel: If a defend ant requests permission to discharge an attorney whose appearance has been entered, the court shall permit the 10 defendant to explain the reasons for the requ est. If the court finds that there is a meritorious reason for the defendant s request, the court shall permit the discharge of counsel; continue the action if necessary; and advise the defendant that if new counsel does not enter an appearance by the next scheduled trial date, the action will proceed to trial with the defendant unrepresented by counsel. If the court finds no meritorious reason for the defendant s request, the court may not permit the discharge of counsel without first informing the defendant that the trial will proceed as scheduled with the defendant unrepresented by counsel if the defendant discharges counsel and does not have new counsel. If the court permits the defendant to discharge counsel, it shall comply with subsections (a)(1)-(4) of this Rule if the docket or files does [sic] not reflect prior compliance.4 The Rule was designed to protect both th e right to counsel and the right to selfrepresentation and ensures that decisions to waive counsel would pass constitutional muster. Brown, 342 M d. at 424 , 676 A .2d at 52 3. The Rule, however, is silent as to what level of discourse is required to discharge counsel. This Court addressed that issue in Snead v. S tate, 286 Md. 122 , 406 A.2d 98 (1 979), in which we considered whether a defend ant s stateme nts were sufficient to invoke the right 4 Maryland Rule 4-215(e) was adopted withou t substantive change fro m Rule 4-215 (d), and wa s derived f rom form er Maryland Rule 723 c, which sta ted in relevan t part: When a defendant indicates a desire or inclination to waive counsel, the court m ay not accept w aiver until it determines, after appropriate questioning on the record in open court, that the defendant pos sesses the inte lligence and capacity to apprec iate the c onseq uence s of his d ecision [.] The history of this Rule contains no commentary on the meaning of the phrase requests permis sion to d ischarg e an atto rney. 11 of self-representation. At trial, the defendant, Richard Lee Snead, filed a motion for continuance and also orally expressed dissatisfaction with his attorney by stating: I feel as though that [sic] I wo uld like to get a delay in this case to get my nephew and my family time to get another attorney. From my understanding, [my attorney], the way he is talking, I am guilty before I even come in the courtroom. Id. at 125, 406 A.2d at 100. The trial court denied Snead s motion for continuance and stated th at his attorney would not be discharged, after which the following dialogue occurred: [SNEA D]: He told me every time he come to see me, he tell me I am guilty before I come in the courtroom. Why should I have a man he feels that way, before I come into the courtroom. THE COUR T: Make your m ind up [your attorn ey] is going to represent you. [SNEA D]: I can t get time for my people to get m e no attor ney? THE C OURT : No, sir. [SNEAD]: I don t want no attorney then. Id. at 126, 4 06 A.2 d at 100 . Snead was convicted, the Court of Special A ppeals aff irmed, but th is Court reversed, reasoning that, any statem ent by the def endant fro m which the court co uld reason ably conclude that the defen dant desired self-represe ntation wo uld be sufficient. Id. at 127, 406 A.2d at 101. In so holding, we fou nd that Sn ead s statem ents were sufficient to require an inquiry by th e trial cou rt as to w hether th e defe ndant w anted to represe nt hims elf. Id. We iterated this conclusion in Leonard v. State, 302 Md. 111, 486 A.2d 163 (19 85), 12 in whi ch, th e def endant, L eonard, r equested a co ntinuance to discharg e his attor ney and proceed pro se: THE CO UR T: I u nderstan d you wan t to co nduct your own defense. [LEO NAR D]: That s the only choic e I got. THE CO URT: I take it your answer is yes. [LEONARD ]: It s got to be yes. It s the only choice I have. THE COURT : Alright. attorney] to stay. . . . I m going to allow [ your current [LEON ARD]: I don t w ant you to allow h im to do nothin g. I have a right to do it []. Id. at 125, 486 A.2d at 170. Leonard further stated that his attorney was no legal advisor for [him] and that he d id not w ant his a ttorney at th e defe nse tab le. Id. The judge denied Leonard s request to represent himself, the Court of Special Appeals affirmed, id. at 118, 486 A.2d at 165, but this Court reversed, holding that Leonard s statements were an obvious expression of his desire or inclination to re presen t himsel f. Id. at 125, 486 A.2d at 170. Quoting from Snead, we stated that [a]ny statement by the defendant from which the court could reasonably conclude that the defendant desired self-representation would be suffici ent. Id. at 124, 486 A.2d at 169. Moreover, we explained that a defendant is not required to utter a talismanic phrase so as to place the court on notice that he desires selfrepresentation. Id. Further, in State v. Brown, 342 Md. 404, 676 A.2d. 513 (1996), statements made by 13 defense counsel were treated as a request to discharge counsel. The defendant stood indicted on various counts of drug distribution an d posse ssion, id. at 409-10, 676 A.2d at 516, and prior to testimo ny by the State s first w itness, the follo wing dialo gue occu rred: [DEFE NDA NT S COUNSEL]: My client wishe s to dismiss me at this point in time. THE CO URT: For what reasons? [DEFE NDA NT S COUNSEL ]: I guess on the advice of his father. [DEFE NDA NT S FATHER]: You can t represent him. You don t know n othing about his case, sir. THE COU RT: W e are in the m iddle of the trial. We will proceed. Go ahead. [DEFE NDA NT S CO UNSE L]: Am I -THE CO URT: You are still counsel, yes. Id. at 429-30, 676 A.2d at 526. The judge denied the request to discharge counsel, which was reversed by the Court of Special Appe als. Id. at 411, 676 A.2d at 51 6. This Co urt held that the trial judge was required to conduct an inquiry as to why the defendant made the request once the defendant indicate[d] a desire to dismiss counsel. Brown, 342 Md. at 425, 676 A.2d at 523 (emphasis ad ded); see also Fowlkes v. State, 311 Md. 586, 536 A.2d 1149 (1988) (ho lding that the d efendan t s statements that his counsel did not have the true 14 eviden ce, and his comm ents, I don t think she is any help to me anyway. If possible I would rather get rid of her, get a new attorney were sufficient to w arrant the trial court s inquiry of the def endant s d esire of self-r epresentatio n); Renshaw v. State, 276 Md. 259, 264, 347 A.2d 219, 224 (1975) (finding that the appropriate inquiry was made by the trial court when the defendant expressed no confidence in trial counsel and requested different counsel). 5 In the case sub judice, Campbell s statement regarding his dissatisfaction w ith his attor ney, if timely, should have triggered a n inquiry by the co urt as to wh ether Cam pbell wanted to discharg e his coun sel. Camp bell made several statem ents to the co urt about his dissatisfaction with his attorney: I don t like this man as my representative; We had conflicts way before this ever started, man in the first trial; The man told me he ain t going to represent m e; He a in t have m y best interest at he art; [Y]ou all wo uldn t let me fire him. As we noted in Snead and Leonard, Campbell s request did not need to be a talismanic phrase or artfully worded to qualify as a req uest to disch arge, so long as a court co uld 5 Courts from the federal circuits and our sister states also have addressed the sufficiency of a defendant s statements to constitute a req uest to d ischarg e coun sel. See Hunter v. Delo, 62 F.3d 271, 274 -75 (8 th Cir. 1995) (holding that a defendant s expressed dissatisfaction with his counsel amounted to a motion to discharge and substitute counsel); State v. Jenkins, 800 A.2d 1200, 1206-07 (Conn. Ct. App . 2002)(finding that the def endant s dissatisfaction with appointed counsel was a clear indication that he did not want to be represented by counsel); People v. Lee, 115 Ca l.Rptr.2d 828, 833 (Dist. Ct. App. 2002) (stating that defendant s objections to his counsel s failure to file a perem ptory challeng e did not qualify as a request to discharge counsel); People v. Clark, 418 N.E .2d 891, 89 3 (Ill. App. 1981) (co ncluding th at any indication by defenda nt that he w ishe[s] to dis charge counsel and repres ent himself, the c ourt must a dmonish the defen dant of his r ight to counsel) (emphas is added). 15 reasonab ly conclude that Cam pbell sought to disch arge his couns el. See Snead, 286 Md. at 127, 406 A.2d at 10 1; Leonard, 302 Md. at 124, 486 A.2d at 170. Based up on Campb ell s expressed dissatisfaction with his attorn ey, a court reaso nably could d educe tha t Campb ell sought to disch arge his couns el. See Brown, 342 Md. at 429-30, 676 A.2d at 526; Snead, 286 Md. at 12 7, 406 A .2d at 101; Leonard, 302 M d. at 124 , 486 A .2d at 17 0. B. Righ t to Disch arge C ounsel A fter Me aningfu l Trial Pro ceedings Begin Our focus no w must s hift to the logis tical requirements imp osed upo n a reques t to discharge counsel. We have held that a defendant s right to waive counsel and proceed pro se or to substitute counsel is more limited once meaningful trial proceedings have begun, because the mandatory nature of Rule 4-21 5(e) is inapp licable, and th e decision to permit discharge of counsel after trial has begun is within the sound discretion of the trial co urt. See Brown, 342 Md. at 420, 676 A.2d at 521. In the exe rcise of discr etion, the judg e is required to conduct an inquiry to assess whether the defendant s reason for dismissal of counsel justifies any resulting disruption, id. at 428, 676 A.2d at 525, through consideration of the follo wing fac tors: (1) the merit of the reason for discharge; (2) the quality of counsel s representation prior to the request; (3) the disruptive effect, if any, that discharge would have on the proceedings; (4) the timing of the request; (5) the complexity and stage of the proceedings; and (6) any prior reque sts by the defen dant to discharge c ounsel. Id. In Brown, we examined what constitutes meaningful trial proceedings and noted 16 that the ex act poin t in time w hen the right to d ischarg e coun sel is cur tailed, c an diff er. Id. at 422, 676 A.2d at 522.6 Quoting from the United States Co urt of Ap peals for the Fifth Circuit, in Chapman v. United States, 553 F.2d 886 (5 th Cir. 1977), we held: A defendant mu st have a last c lear chanc e to assert his constitutional right. If there must be a point beyond which the defendant forfeits the unqualified right to defend pro se, that point should not come before meaningful trial proceedings have commenced. We have not entered the age of stop-watch jurisprudence[.] Id. (internal citation omitted). Since Brown, we have had occa sion in State v. Wischhusen, 342 Md. 530, 677 A.2d 595 (1996), to determine whether meaningful trial proceedings had begun when a request to dismiss counsel was m ade. In Wischhusen, def ense counsel was not p rese nt when the ju ry, during deliberations , asked the ju dge a clarif ication que stion. Id. at 533, 677 A.2d at 596. The judge, prior to reinstructing the jury, asked the defendant if he wanted to have his counsel presen t, to whi ch the d efend ant repli ed in the negativ e. Id. at 535, 677 A.2d at 597. The defendant was convicted, and the Court of Special Appeals, reversed holding that the judge should ha ve obtaine d a waive r of coun sel pursuan t to Rule 4-215 (e). Id. We reversed and held that although Rule 4-215 applies up to and including the beginning of trial, the Rule does not apply after meaningful trial proceedings have commenced. Id. at 543, 677 6 This Court explained that other jurisdictions have found that the right to discharge counsel is per se untimely if asserted af ter the jury has be en selected ; while other courts have established impanelment of the jury as the cut-off point. Brown, 342 M d. at 422 , 676 A.2d a t 522 (in ternal cita tions om itted). 17 A.2d at 601 (em phasis added). 7 In the present case, Campbell made a request to discharge counsel at the close of the State s case-in-chief and after defense counsel had announced that Campb ell had electe d to remain silent. We find that meaningful trial proceedings definitely had begun, rendering Rule 4-215(e) inapplicable. The trial judge did ask Campbell if he wanted to address the court after the State had rested its case, to which C amp bell s tated his re ason s for wan ting to discha rge h is atto rney, which included a lleged con flicts existing b etween h imself and his attorney during the prior and current trials; and his lawyer s comments that he would not represent him, that the jury was going to convict him [Campbell], and that he should receive a long sentence. In 7 Some federal courts have held that the process of jury selection signals when mean ingful tr ial proce edings have begun . See United States v. McKenna, 327 F.3d 830, 844 (9 th Cir. 2003) (holding tha t a request w ill only be deem ed timely if ma de prior to empaneling the jury); United States v. Young, 287 F.3d 1352, 1354-55 (11th Cir. 2002) (stating that meaningful trial proceedings had com menced w hen the parties selected the jury); United States v. Jones, 938 F.2d 737, 74 3 (7 th Cir. 1991) (stating that the defen dant s requ est, made after the jury had been empane led, was un timely because meaningful trial proceedings had commence d); United States v. Betancourt-Arretuche, 933 F.2d 89, 96 (1 st Cir. 1991) (holding that defendant s request to discharge counsel was untimely because the jury had been em paneled); United States v. Lawrence, 605 F.2d 1321 , 1325 (4 th Cir. 1979) (finding that a defendant s request to discharge counsel must occur before meaningful trial proceedings have com menced , which is p rior to selection of the jury); Chapman v. United States, 553 F.2d 886 , 895 (5 th Cir. 1977) (finding request to d ismiss coun sel to be untime ly if made before the jury is selected). Other federal courts also have held that meaningful trial proceedings had begun at the conclusion of the State s case. See United States v. Washington, 353 F.3d 42, 46 (D.C. Cir. 2004) (holding that meaningful trial proceedings had commenced when th e defend ant asked to dismiss cou nsel after the State had rested its case) United States v. Merchant, 992 F.2d 1091, 1095-96 (10th Cir. 1993)(explaining that defendant s request was untimely because the State had already completed most of its case). 18 addition, Campbell s attorney explained the problems that had existed between the two. Because Campbell s reasons for wanting to dismiss his counsel were apparent based upon his statem ents, the trial judg e was n ot requ ired to m ake an y further in quiry. After having the dialogue, the trial judg e denie d Cam pbell s r equest . Balancing the Brown factors against the countervailing consideratio ns of perm itting Cam pbell to discharge counsel compels u s to agree. See Brown, 342 Md. at 428-29, 676 A.2d at 525. The trial judge s response to Campbell s request reflected his assessment that the request lacked merit: that Campbell was incorrect in stating that his counsel did not act in his best interest because defense counsel h ad expres sed a neg ative view to Campb ell about the outcome of the case. The other Brown factors, whether the discharge of counsel would have a disruptive effect on the proceedings, the timing of the request, and the complexity and stage of the proceedings, likewise support the trial court s d ecision bec ause Cam pbell s requ est came a fter the State had already concluded its case-in-chief and only the closing arg uments and the jury instructions remain ed. The disruptive effect of Campbell dismissing his attorney and either proceeding pro se or substituting counsel so late in the proceedings supports our expression in Brown that requests to discharge should not be used as eleventh hour tactics to delay the trial or to confuse the jury, and must be limited to prevent undue interference with the administration of justice. Brown, 342 Md. at 414-15, 676 A.2d at 518. Consideration of the final Brown fact or, w heth er an y prior req uests had been mad e, fu rther yields the conclusion that the judge did not abu se his discretion in denying Cam pbell s request; the 19 record does not re flect that prior re quests to dismiss counsel were made, but that when Campb ell had been given an opportunity to address the cou rt he elec ted to b ring it up later. Judge Raker, when speaking for this Court in Brown, was clear that [a]lthough the trial judge need not engage in a full-scale inquiry pursuant to Rule 4-215, the judge must at least consider the defendant s reason for requesting dismissal before rendering a decisio n. Id. at 431, 676 A.2d at 526. Here, the trial judge considered the reasons for Cam pbell s request to discharge his counse l and articulated reasons for the denial of the request based upon the Brown factors . III. Conclusion We, therefore, co nclude tha t Campb ell s statements to the trial court qualified as a request to discharge counsel. When Campbell made the request after meaningful trial proceedings had commenced, the judge did not abuse his discretion when he denied Campb ell s request. JUDGMENT OF THE COURT OF SPECIAL APPEALS REVERSED; COSTS IN THIS COURT AND THE COURT OF SPECIAL APPEALS TO BE PAID BY RESPONDENT. 20 In the Circu it Court for B altimore C ounty Case No. 01-CR-4582 IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF MARYLAND No. 63 September Term, 2004 STATE OF MARYLAND v. BERNARD CAMPBELL A/K/A SEAN KELLY Bell, C.J. Raker Wilner Cathell Harrell Battaglia Greene, JJ. Dissen ting Op inion b y Raker, J ., which Bell, C.J., joins. Filed: March 15, 2005 Raker, J., dissenting, in which Bell, C.J., joins: I would affirm the judgment of the Court of Special Appeals and hold that under the circumstances of this case, the trial judge should have made further inquiry of the defendant as to the reaso ns he wish ed to discha rge his cou nsel. The Court of Special Appeals, in an unreported opinion, reversed the judgment of the Circuit Court for Baltimore County, reasoning as follows: In this case, the circuit court did not determine the reason for the requested discharge of counsel. Appellant articulated that counsel ain t have my best interest at heart, that the two had conflicts way before this e ver started, an d that coun sel told me he ain t going to represent m e. Although appellant s statements were made a fter he and counsel had discussed the plea offer, the circuit court did not determine if app ellant s concerns resulted from counsel s assessment of the case and recommendation to plead guilty or from something entirely different. Instead, the circuit cou rt briefly opined on the me rits of an attorney who would tell me the truth [about] what I am facing . Either the circ uit court did not recogn ize the requ est to discharge counsel an d did not ex ercise its discretion or, if it did, it made no inquiry as to the re ason and did not provide the rationale for denying appellant s request. The refore, we are constra ined to r everse the judg ments o f the circ uit cour t. The intermediate appellate co urt was righ t on in its analysis, especia lly when c onsidered in context of the earlier colloquy between defense counsel and the co urt. Defens e counse l told the court that he was app rehensive, th at his client w as off the h ook, and that he is threatening me. Respondent told the court before the trial started that he wanted a postponement (which was denied subsequently by the administrative judge) and that this guy [defense counsel] didn t come see me, talk to me about this case in nine months since the first c ase in A pril. The record do es not estab lish that the trial court considered the reasons for responde nt s request to discharge h is counsel. Chief Judge Bell has authorized me to state that he joins in this dissenting opinion. 2