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Eye On Boise

Denial could lead to automatic reversal

Federal prosecutors aren’t objecting to Duncan’s request to serve as his own attorney. Deputy U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson told the court that when Duncan pleaded guilty on Dec. 7 to all 10 counts in the federal indictment against him, he made a statement “that was clearly rational, based on fact. … I think the court is right that there is no indication whatsoever that there is any competency problem with this particular defendant.” The danger, she warned, would come if Duncan’s request were improperly denied. That could be deemed “structural error” that would require automatic reversal of the decision on his sentence. “This is his 6th Amendment right that he has,” Olson told the court this morning. She said prosecutors are “concerned if he is denied this opportunity improperly, that it would be structural error and we would end up right back where we are.” A 9th Circuit case decided just this year showed that, she said. “That’s our position at this time, that the record shows that he is competent and he has that right.”

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Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.