Judge Allows Harvey to Represent Self

5 years 10 months 3 weeks ago January 14, 2011 Jan 14, 2011 Friday, January 14 2011 Friday, January 14, 2011 5:56:39 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - In a hearing Friday morning Chester Harvey, one of the five family members charged with murdering a hitchhiker in 2009, asked Judge Kevin Crane to represent himself in trial. After more than an hour of questioning Harvey, making sure he understood the severity of his decision, Crane granted him permission to represent himself.

Crane said, "The court finds the defendant is competent, has made a timely, unequivocal, voluntary, knowing, informed and intelligent waiver of council. Public defender to remain on case as standby council."

When asked by Crane if he was under any duress or if he was being coerced into making this decision, Harvey replied he would rather represent himself than stay with his current attorney, Justin Carver. Harvey said Carver has shown prejudice toward him and is ineffective.

Harvey does not have a law degree. He has a high school G.E. D. certificate.

Crane reminded Harvey of the difficulties and challenges he faces not being a licensed attorney. Crane said Harvey is currently incarcerated and will have limited access to material and information within Audrain County Jail.

But Crane denied Harvey's request to be moved to a facility with a better law library, saying the Audrain County Jail has adequate resources.

The court also denied Harvey's request for "hybrid" representation, which would allow Harvey to act as co-council with an attorney.

Harvey is charged with first degree murder, kidnapping, abandonment of a corpse, and armed criminal action. Harvey's son Chad Harvey was sentenced to life in prison for second degree murder in December.

Chester Harvey's trial is scheduled for February 7th.

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