Rule 44. Right to and Assignment of Counsel

Editor’s Note:  language in red is effective July 1, 2022.

Rule 44. Right to and Assignment of Counsel

(a) Right to Assigned Counsel. Every indigent defendant is entitled to have assigned counsel in all matters necessary to the defense and at every stage of the proceedings, unless the defendant waives counsel.

(b) Waiver.

(1) Actions by Court. Before accepting a waiver of counsel, the court shall:

(A) advise the accused in open court of the right to the aid of counsel at every stage of the proceedings; and

(B) determine whether there has been a competent and intelligent waiver of such right by inquiring into the background, experience, and conduct of the accused, and other appropriate matters.

(2) Written Waiver. A waiver of counsel shall be in writing.

(3) Record of Waiver. An accepted waiver of counsel shall be in the record.

(c) Procedures for Appointment of Counsel. The procedures for assigning counsel are those provided by law.

(d) Inquiry Into Joint Representation.

(1) Definition of Joint Representation. Joint representation occurs when:

(A) two or more defendants have been jointly charged under Rule 8(c) or have been joined for trial under Rule 13; and

(B) are represented by the same retained or assigned counsel or by retained or assigned counsel who are associated in the practice of law.

(2) Court’s Responsibilities in Cases of Joint Representation. The court shall promptly inquire about the propriety of joint representation and shall personally advise each defendant of the right to the effective assistance of counsel, including separate representation. Unless there is good cause to believe no conflict of interest is likely to arise, the court shall take appropriate measures to protect each defendant’s right to counsel.

Advisory Commission Comment.

This rule is similar to the federal rule.

Advisory Commission Comment [2022]

The Advisory Commission adds this Comment to clarify that the waiver provisions of subparagraph (b) of the Rule apply to both indigent and non-indigent defendants.


Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure - 2023-2024 Copyright © by Edited by John A. Day. All Rights Reserved.