Washington v. Burns (Majority and Concurrence)Annotate this Case
Washington charged Michael Burns with second degree assault, domestic violence, and felony violation of a no-contact order, for strangling Christina Jackson while the no-contact order was in effect. The appeal presented for the Washington Supreme Court's review centered on whether Burns was improerly denied his right to waive counsel and represent himself at trial, and whether he could assert a violation of the confrontation clause for the first time on appeal. The trial court judge denied Burns' request to proceed pro se based on a lack of understanding of the nature of the charges against him where he indicated the criminal charges brought against him did not pertain to him, and that he had not entered into a contract such that the State could bring charges against him. Burns contended on appeal his right to confrontation was violated when statements of his victim came in as evidence through testimony of her neighbor and the responding police officer, though she herself did not testimony. Burns did not objet to the testimony on confrontation grounds at trial. The Washington Supreme Court concurred with the Court of Appeals that the trial judge did not abuse her discretion in denying Burns' request to proceed pro se, and that Burns waived his right to assert a confrontation violation by not objecting at trial.