Solomon sought plea withdrawal arguing that the circuit court had denied her request to represent herself and insisted on proceeding with the scheduled trial date, so her newly-retained lawyer was not prepared to defend her. The court of appeals held that her invocation of this right was not clear and unequivocal. It also held that the domestic abuse assessment clearly applied to this case.
Right to self-representation. The court of appeals denied this claim because:
¶17 . . . To invoke the right to self-representation, a defendant must clearly and unequivocally demand the right to proceed pro se. State v. Darby, 2009 WI App 50, ¶24, 317 Wis. 2d 478, 766 N.W.2d 770. Only a clear and unequivocal demand triggers the circuit court’s obligation to ensure a valid waiver of the right to counsel and competency to proceed pro se. Id., ¶¶18-19, 24. Solomon did not clearly and unequivocally invoke her right to represent herself. Instead, she expressed concern about the cost of a lawyer and suggested that representing herself would be more cost-effective. All of Solomon’s statements concerning self-representation were, as the postconviction court stated, “non-committal phrases and amounted to nothing more than ‘musings on the benefits of self representation.’” See Darby, 317 Wis. 2d 478, ¶20. The postconviction court properly denied Solomon’s motion to withdraw her guilty plea.
Domestic abuse assessment. On this issue, the court of appeals held that §973.055(1), the domestic abuse assessment statute, applies to (1) convictions under §943.01, and (2) conduct committed against an adult with whom the defendant resided. The conviction and the conduct charged in this case clearly satisfied both requirements. Opinion, ¶¶20-21.