MILLER, P. J., RICKMAN and REESE, JJ.
a bench trial, the Superior Court of Lincoln County found
Raekwon Cade ("the Appellant") guilty of aggravated
battery,  aggravated assault,  possession of a
firearm by a convicted felon,  and two counts of possession of a
firearm during the commission of a felony. The Appellant was
sentenced to serve a total of 35 years, with the first 25
years to be served in confinement and the remainder on
probation, and to pay a $2, 000 fine. He files this appeal,
appearing pro se, arguing that he did not voluntarily waive
his rights to a jury trial or representation by legal
counsel. He also contends that the trial court erred by:
allowing the State to give a trial witness a document to
review; denying the Appellant his right to a timely waiver of
counsel; and 4) ordering him to complete the incarceration
portion of his sentence before allowing him to serve the
remainder of his sentence on probation. For the reasons set
forth infra, we affirm.
the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict,
record shows that, on September 10, 2016, Dequavis Turner and
a friend got into an argument via social media with the
Appellant's sister, Markesia Curry ("Curry").
Curry traveled to Turner's home, yelled at the men, and
shoved Turner's friend. Curry's mother, Portia Curry,
went to Turner's home, argued with the men, and
threatened to beat Turner's friend with a metal pipe.
Later that day, while Turner was sitting on his porch, he saw
the Appellant walking down the road toward him, holding a
gun. Turner testified that he tried to run away when he saw
the Appellant. According to Turner, the Appellant caught him,
hit him twice in the face with the gun, and kicked him in the
mouth, resulting in injuries to Turner's eye and the loss
of two front teeth.
his conviction, the Appellant filed a motion for new trial.
After a hearing, the trial court denied the Appellant's
motion, and this appeal follows.
On appeal from a criminal conviction, we view the evidence in
the light most favorable to the verdict, with the defendant
no longer enjoying a presumption of innocence. We neither
weigh the evidence nor judge the credibility of witnesses,
but determine only whether, after viewing the evidence in the
light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier
of fact could have found the essential elements of the crime
beyond a reasonable doubt.
these guiding principles in mind, we turn to the
Appellant's specific claims of error.
Before reaching the merits of the Appellant's
contentions, however, we note that his brief does not contain
proper citations to the parts of the record or transcripts,
which is essential to our consideration of his enumerated
errors. Pro se status does not relieve a party
from the "obligation to comply with the substantive and
procedural requirements of the law, including the rules of
The rules of this [C]ourt are not intended to provide an
obstacle for the unwary or the pro se appellant. Briefs that
do not conform to the rules regarding enumerations of error,
structure of briefs, argument, or citation of authorities, as
[the Appellant's] fails to do, are not merely an
inconvenience or grounds for refusing to consider a
party's contentions. Such briefs hinder this [C]ourt in
determining the substance and basis of an appellant's
contentions both in fact and in law and may well prejudice an
appellant's appeal regardless of the amount of leniency
shown. Nevertheless, we will address [the Appellant's]
arguments, insofar as we are able to discern them from his
Appellant argues that he did not knowingly, intelligently and
voluntarily waive his right to a jury trial. We find no clear
A defendant's right to trial by a jury is a fundamental
constitutional right that the defendant must personally,
knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently choose to waive. A
defendant's consent to a trial without a jury need not be
in any particular, ritualistic form; the trial court need
only conduct an inquiry of the accused on the record so as to
ensure that the waiver is knowing, voluntary and
intelligent[.] The trial court should ask the defendant
sufficient questions on the record to ensure that the
defendant's waiver is knowing, voluntary, and
When a defendant challenges his purported waiver of the right
to a jury trial, the State bears the burden of showing that
the waiver was made both knowingly and intelligently, either
(1) by showing on the record that the defendant was cognizant
of the right being waived; or (2) by filling a silent or
incomplete record through the use of extrinsic evidence which
affirmatively shows that the waiver was knowingly and
voluntarily made. Such extrinsic evidence may include
testimony by or an affidavit from trial counsel about his
specific recollections; routine or standard practices; and
evidence regarding the defendant's intelligence and
"[T]he question of whether a defendant is capable or
incapable of making a knowing and intelligent waiver of his
rights is to be answered by the trial judge and will be
accepted by this [C]ourt unless such determination is clearly
record shows that the Appellant and Portia Curry were
indicted together on various charges arising from the
September 2016 incident. On April 10, 2017, the trial court
held a hearing at which Portia Curry and the Appellant were
present. After Portia Curry waived her right to a jury trial,
the trial court tentatively accepted her waiver. The
following colloquy then occurred:
[COURT]: I'm going to ask [the Appellant] the same
questions, if he wants a jury trial then both of you would
have a jury trial because you have been indicted together and
both of you at that point in time, unless you are both
waiving jury trials, you will both be tried with a jury that
would begin Monday or sometime next week.
Mr. Cade, I'm going to ask you some of the same questions
that I asked Ms. Curry. Now, [your trial counsel] has
indicated that you also wish to waive your constitutional
right to [a] trial by jury; is that correct?
[A (by the Appellant)]: Yes, sir.
[Q]: Okay. You are charged with several felonies, you have
the right to have twelve jurors determine your guilt or
innocence. All twelve have to be unanimous in their decision
that the State proves the case beyond a reasonable doubt
before you can be convicted. If you waive that right, the
Judge will act as both judge and jury. If the Judge is
convinced beyond a reasonable doubt, then it will be the same
Judge that will impose sentence. So, you're going from
the State having to convince all twelve jurors to the State
having to convince one person beyond a reasonable doubt and
that would be the Judge. The standard is still the same,
it's just that there's eleven less people to
[A]: And Judge Dunaway would have to run this case if I want
a bench trial?
[Q]: Judge Dunaway has retired. . . . I believe I'm the
one holding court next week. Okay? So the jury trials will
begin next week and the bench trials will be in June,
beginning June 19th.
[A (by the Appellant)]: Yes, sir.
[Q]: All right. With that understanding, is it still your
desire to waive your right to a jury trial?
[A]: Yes, sir.
[Q]: You understand you don't have to do it just because
Ms. Curry does it? Do you understand that?
[A]: Yes, sir.
[Q]: But it will require both of you to do it for either one
of you to have a bench trial.
[A]: Yes, sir.
[Q]: Okay. So you wish to waive jury trial; is that correct?
[A]: Yes, sir.
. . .
[Q]: All right. Let the waiver be signed.
denying the Appellant's motion for new trial, the trial
court stated in its order that "[t]he record clearly
demonstrate[d] that [the Appellant] personally and
intelligently participated in the wavier of his right to a
jury trial and that he did so in a knowing, voluntary, and
the trial court did not err in finding that there was
sufficient evidence of a waiver of the Appellant's right
to a jury trial. At the motion for new trial hearing,
trial counsel testified that the Appellant was asked
"about whether [he] understood that [he had] a valuable
constitutional right to a jury trial, and whether [he]
understood that the prosecution[ was] willing to and prepared
to try [his] case . . . and [the Appellant] indicated [that
he] want[ed] to waive [his] right to a jury trial[.]"
When questioned whether it appeared that the Appellant
understood the jury trial waiver proceedings, trial counsel
testified that the Appellant "did not give any
indication that he didn't understand, nor was there any
vacillation on his part." Further, the record contains a
consent order signed by the Appellant, his trial counsel, the
prosecutor, and the trial court on the same day as the
pre-trial waiver hearing.
upon the totality of the circumstances presented here, the
trial court's conclusion that the Appellant knowingly,
voluntarily, and intelligently waived his right to a jury
trial was not clearly erroneous. Thus, this argument is
Appellant argues that he did not knowingly and intelligently
waive his right to counsel either prior to trial or during
trial. We disagree.
Although a criminal defendant has a Sixth Amendment right to
assistance of counsel at trial, the defendant also has the
constitutional right to represent himself, as long as he
voluntarily, knowingly, and intelligently elects to waive the
right to counsel. To establish a valid waiver, the trial
court must apprise the defendant of the dangers and
disadvantages inherent in representing himself so that the
record will show that he knows what he is doing and his
choice is made with eyes open.
follows that "[a] defendant's waiver of his right to
counsel is valid if the record reflects that the defendant
was made aware of the dangers of self-representation and
nevertheless made a knowing and intelligent
[i]t is not required that the trial court probe the
defendant's case and advise the defendant as to legal
strategies to ensure that a waiver is intelligently made.
Indeed, the defendant's technical legal knowledge is
irrelevant to the question of whether he validly waives his
right to be represented by counsel. The test is not whether
the accused is capable of good lawyering, but whether he
knowingly and intelligently waives his right to counsel.
Although the State has the burden of showing that a defendant
received sufficient information and guidance from the trial
court to make a knowing and intelligent waiver of the right
to trial counsel, a trial court's ruling on this issue is
reviewed only for an abuse of discretion.
(a) Prior to trial.
record demonstrates that, prior to trial, the Appellant
abandoned his motion to represent himself. On the day of
trial, prior to its commencement, the following colloquy
occurred outside the presence of the prosecutor:
[COURT]: Mr. Cade, you mailed this Court a motion to
represent yourself basically in this case, and I had
responded to that[, ] telling you that I would hear you on
that motion today. Your case is scheduled for a bench trial
right now; okay? Do you wish to continue with your motion to
be self-represented? You know you have been appointed [a
public defender], to represent you in this case. What is your
desire at this point?
[A (the Appellant):] Right now at this point, I would like to
put my testimony on the record before we begin. I feel like
this may better serve judicial economy right now. . . .
[Q]: Well, if you wish to testify during the course of the
trial you can do that, but that testimony will be subject to
examination by [trial counsel] if he [ ] represents you, and
it will also be subject to cross-examination by the district
attorney[.] And you understand that if [you] do that,
anything you say could be used against you. You would
basically be giving up your right not to incriminate
yourself. Do you understand that?
[A]: Yes, sir. But I understand that today . . . it was
scheduled for today for this motion for me with the release
of [trial counsel]. My understanding was not a bench trial[,
] if I release him and become my own attorney, I'm going
to need more time to go over my case.
[Q]: No, the trial is going to happen today. All of the
information has been provided. The discovery has ...