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United States v. Beckton

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

January 21, 2014

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Reggie Andre BECKTON, Defendant-Appellant.

Argued: Dec. 12, 2013.

Page 304

ARGUED:

Richard Croutharmel, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellant.

Kristine L. Fritz, Office of the United States Attorney, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellee.

ON BRIEF:

Thomas G. Walker, United States Attorney, Jennifer P. May-Parker, Assistant United States Attorney, Office of the United States Attorney, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellee.

Before MOTZ, KEENAN, and THACKER, Circuit Judges.

Affirmed by published opinion. Judge MOTZ wrote the opinion, in which Judge KEENAN and Judge THACKER joined.

DIANA GRIBBON MOTZ, Circuit Judge:

A jury convicted Reggie Andre Beckton of two counts of bank robbery in violation of 18 U.S.C. ยง 2113(a). Beckton appeals, contending that the district court abused its discretion in refusing to permit him to testify in narrative form, and erred in forcing him to choose between his right to testify in his own defense and his right to represent himself. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

I.

In May 2011, a grand jury indicted Beckton on two counts of robbery of federally insured banks in Wilmington, North Carolina. A year later, after a two-day trial, a jury convicted him on both counts.

In the months leading up to Beckton's trial, the district court appointed three different public defenders to represent him. Because Beckton alleged conflicts of interest and personality with the first lawyer and made crude sexual remarks to the second, the court permitted each of them to withdraw.

A week before trial, Beckton made an oral motion to disqualify his third court-appointed attorney, Thomas Manning. The district court denied the motion after determining that Beckton's objections to Manning did not constitute a conflict of interest warranting appointment of a fourth public defender. The court also denied Beckton's eleventh-hour request to postpone his trial. Rather than proceed with Manning as his lawyer, Beckton stated that he wanted to represent himself ...


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