Doll says he is not pre­pared for trial

Man, 52, to act as his own at­tor­ney

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - TRACY M. NEAL

BENTONVILLE — A Mis­souri man says he now un­der­stands the chal­lenges he faces by act­ing as his own at­tor­ney.

“I wasn’t pre­pared for the re­al­ity,” Michael Doll said at a hear­ing in his case Thurs­day.

Doll, 52, of Jasper is charged with at­tempted cap­i­tal mur­der, ag­gra­vated res­i­den­tial bur­glary and bat­tery. Doll’s ex-wife told a 911 dis­patcher on June 7, 2016, that he tried to break into her Bella Vista home. Gun­fire was heard on the phone and the caller said a man had shot her, ac­cord­ing to a prob­a­ble cause af­fi­davit.

Doll pleaded not guilty to the charges. He’s be­ing held in the Ben­ton County Jail on a $500,000 bond.

A jury trial is sched­uled to be­gin Aug. 22. A pre-trial hear­ing is sched­uled for Aug. 21.

Ben­ton County Cir­cuit Judge Robin Green pre­vi­ously agreed to let Doll rep­re­sent him­self, but only af­ter she re­peat­edly warned not to go down that path. She stuck to her rul­ing on Thurs­day as Doll tried to back away from his ear­lier de­ci­sion.

“I wasn’t pre­pared,” Doll

said. “I can’t rep­re­sent my­self.”

Green re­ceived a let­ter from Doll on Wed­nes­day. “I prob­a­bly should have paid more at­ten­tion to the old adage you told me in court about the at­tor­ney who rep­re­sents him­self,” Doll states in the let­ter.

The judge pre­vi­ously told Doll, “a lawyer who rep­re­sents him­self has a fool for a client.”

Green warned Doll at two prior hear­ings about the con­se­quences of rep­re­sent­ing him­self in a case where he faces two life sen­tences plus 20 years if con­victed.

Doll was adamant he wanted to rep­re­sent him­self, and Green al­lowed it since it is Doll’s con­sti­tu­tional right to do so.

He was first rep­re­sented by Bentonville at­tor­ney Shane Wilkin­son, who was al­lowed to with­draw from the case. Green then ap­pointed the Ben­ton County Pub­lic De­fend­ers Of­fice to rep­re­sent Doll.

Doll then said he wanted to rep­re­sent him­self in­stead of deputy pub­lic de­fend­ers Scott McElveen and Kevin Lam­mers. Green granted Doll’s re­quest.

Green or­dered the pub­lic de­fend­ers to act as Doll’s stand-by coun­sel, but they would only to of­fer guid­ance or an­swer ques­tions from Doll.

On Thurs­day, Green told Doll the pub­lic de­fend­ers would not step in and take over the trial.

“You made the de­ci­sion to rep­re­sent your­self,” Green said.

Green nor­mally has a re­quire­ment that at­tor­neys ex­change wit­ness lists 30 days be­fore the trial. Doll pre­vi­ously told Green he had not sub­poe­naed any wit­nesses.

The judge al­lowed Doll to sub­poena his wit­nesses, but he must im­me­di­ately pro­vide their names.

Doll had com­plained at a hear­ing last week about ac­cess to the law li­brary and a lack of light­ing in his cell that he said pre­vented him from pre­par­ing for the case.

Green said Sher­iff Shawn Hol­loway ad­dressed both is­sues. Doll has open ac­cess to the law li­brary com­puter and a printer. A ex­tra light bulb was added in his cell to im­prove the light­ing, Green said. Doll agreed his com­plaints had been ad­dressed.

Doll’s ex-wife told po­lice she moved to Bella Vista to get away from Doll, and he had threat­ened to kill her, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

A bul­let grazed the woman’s side and she was treated at the scene, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

Doll has claimed at pre­vi­ous hear­ing that he was act­ing in self-de­fense.


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