State v. Wheeler, 202 N.C.App. 61, 688 S.E.2d 51 (Jan. 19, 2010)

The trial court’s action denying the defendant’s mid-trial request to discharge counsel and proceed pro se was not an abuse of discretion and did not infringe on the defendant’s right to self-representation. Prior to trial, the defendant waived his right to counsel and standby counsel was appointed. Thereafter, he informed the trial court that he wished standby counsel to select the jury. The trial court allowed the defendant’s request, informing the defendant that he would not be permitted to discharge counsel again. The defendant accepted the trial court’s conditions and stated that he wished to proceed with counsel. After the jury had been selected and the trial had begun, the defendant once again attempted to discharge counsel. The trial court denied the defendant’s request, noting that the defendant already had discharged four or five lawyers and had been uncooperative with appointed counsel.