A Motion to Quash Order Appointing Counsel was presented to Judge John Fenn in 4th Judicial District Court Wednesday afternoon. Public Defender Robert Jones went before the judge in the case of Timothy Paul Schaffer, whom a jury found guilty of Aggravated Assault and Battery after a two-day trial in early June.
Since that time, Schaffer has been writing countless letters to the Court regarding various issues with his counsel. On July 20th Judge Fenn agreed to allow Schaffer to, in effect, “fire” his public defender Robert Jones and to allow Schaeffer to represent himself prior to sentencing.
But then Schaffer continued to write to the Court requesting another lawyer. On August 6th Schaffer was to be sentenced, but in a surprise twist, Judge Fenn granted a continuance so that Schaeffer could be appointed another public defender.
In yesterday's motion, Jones said that per Wyoming Statute 76-107, once a defendant waives his right to counsel, he waives his right to stand-by counsel. Prosecutor Deputy County Attorney Dianna Bennett said that she agreed with Jones, but that the State is not in a position to stand in the way of Schaffer wanting counsel.
Judge Fenn denied the motion, saying instead, because the Court has received extensive writings, the volume of material and ramblings cause the Court to question Schaeffer's mental competency. Fenn said he's concerned the defendant is not in a position to waive his right to counsel.
Judge Fenn ordered that Schaffer is to be transferred to the Wyoming State Hospital in Evanston, and housed in an appropriately secured facility to undergo further evaluation.
After that, the Court will consider the waiver. Meantime, a public defender will be appointed, with Jones' office deciding on an attorney.