Published on:

Defendant Contends He was Denied Right to Counsel


The plaintiff and appellee in the case is the United States of America. The defendant and appellant of the case is Norman L. Haymer. The case is being heard in the fifth circuit of the United States Court of Appeals.


A New York Drug Crime Lawyer said the defendant and appellant in the case, Norman L. Haymer, is appealing his original sentence. He states his right to counsel as provided by the sixth amendment was violated as a misdemeanor conviction that was uncounseled was included when determining his criminal history score.

Previous Case

Previously, Haymer had submitted a plea of guilty to a charge of possession of cocaine with the intent to sell. A New York Drug Possession Lawyer said the probation officer who issued the presentence report recommended that Haymer be sentenced to anywhere from 53 to 63 months. He based this calculation on a 22 offense level and a category III criminal history. The score included 2 points for committing a crime while on probation, a point for a conviction that occurred in 1987, and a point for a charge of shoplifting in 1991. It is the shoplifting charge that is currently being appealed.

The records of the shoplifting case indicate that Haymer was arrested on the 22nd of May in 1991 and entered a guilty plea. He was fined $300 plus the cost of court. Haymer was later arrested for contempt of court because he failed to pay the court costs and fine. However, the defendant states that he performed 18 days of work at a Hinds County Penal Farm as opposed to paying the charges.

Haymer did not file any written objections to the presentence report, but he objected during his sentencing hearing about the shoplifting charge being included. A Nassau County Drug Possession Lawyer said his reasoning was that he was not represented by a lawyer at the time of the conviction. If the shoplifting charge is excluded his score would be lowered and the result would be a lower sentence time of a maximum 57 months instead of a maximum 63 months.

Defendant Argument

The defendant states that at the time of the shoplifting incident he was working and took a pack of cigarettes. He was arrested at the time and paid bond to be released. During his court date he told the judge that he did not take the cigarettes. He states that he was in the judge’s chamber and assumed that if he pleads guilty to the charges he would receive a low fine. However, the fine was $300, which I could not afford. This lead to me being arrested and put in jail to work the fine off. I was never told that I had the right to a lawyer and if I was given the choice I would have chosen to obtain a lawyer.

Court Ruling

A Queens Drug Possession Lawyer said the court finds that because there was no term of imprisonment involved in his shoplifting sentencing, the uncounseled prosecution of the time is not unconstitutional. For the purpose of this particular case the court finds that including the conviction for shoplifting when determining his criminal history score. While Haymer may have served time for the conviction, it was not part of the initial judgment. Regardless of the previous conviction or fine for the shoplifting crime, it is not considered unconstitutional. Additionally, the result of incarceration for the crime was not used to determine the score, but rather the fact that he was previously arrested for the charge.

When you find yourself in any type of legal situation it is important to contact a lawyer for advice. At Stephen Bilkis & Associates, we can help you determine the necessary steps to take in your situation. We have offices located throughout the metropolitan area of Manhattan. You may contact us to set up a free consultation at any time.

Contact Information