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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:This court abated this appeal for a hearing in the trial court to determine whether John David Sickles had voluntarily and intelligently waived his right to counsel in connection with a motion for self-representation he filed with this court. Sickles then filed a motion to withdraw his motion for self-representation. In addition, due to the damage caused by Hurricane Rita, the trial court advised this court that it will not be able to conduct the abatement hearing in the foreseeable future because the sheriff’s department is unable to keep or transport inmates. HOLDING:The court reinstates the appeal, grants Sickles’ motion to withdraw the motion for self-representation, and notifies counsel for the state that the state’s brief is due 30 days after the date of this order. OPINION:Per curiam; Gray, C.J., Vance and Reyna, JJ. CONCURRENCE:Tom Gray, C.J. “A classic waste of resources. We could do this in a simple letter directed only to the parties so that I would not have to do a formal concurring opinion. It would be less embarrassing for the Court. And the majority knows that I cannot check off on something I do not agree with, it is simply not in my nature or my job description. So rather than easy, we do it the hard way. . . . “Contrary to the statements in the majority’s order, Rita has nothing to do with whether Sickles should be allowed to represent himself on appeal or whether there should be a hearing. Rita may cause us to grant an extension, but it does not alter the entitlement to a hearing. If he was entitled to a hearing before Rita, he is still entitled to one now. They even noted in footnote 2 of their September 14, 2005 abatement order that Sickles did not have to appear in person so the sheriff’s ability to transport or keep prisoners is not in issue. . . . “The majority has concluded that his [Sickles] decision to move to vacate the abatement order, an order designed to implement his asserted right to waive the assistance of counsel and to represent himself, is voluntary and intelligent. Sounds confusing, doesn’t it? But if we as a court can make this decision, why could we not, in the first instance, determine that he did not make a voluntary and intelligent waiver rather than ordering this to go through the cost and expense of a hearing on abatement before the trial court? He asserts in his explanation that he did not make the earlier waiver of his right to counsel intelligently. Maybe it is Sickles’s current decision that is not being made voluntarily or intelligently. How does the majority know this decision was voluntary and intelligent but could not decide the same issue as to the earlier request?”

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