LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The Third Circuit Court of Appeal has thrown out the conviction and sentence of a man accused of shooting at police officers during a standoff at a Sulphur hotel in 2014.
El Jerico Bartie fired multiple times through the door and out the back window of the hotel room at eight officers before he surrendered, according to court records.
Instead of a jury trial, Bartie was tried by Judge Ron Ware, who found him guilty of eight counts of attempted first-degree murder and sentenced him to 50 years in prison.
At issue was whether Bartie “knowingly and intelligently” waived his right to a trial by jury. Although Bartie’s attorney filed a motion to waive a trial by jury, it was not signed by Bartie himself.
The Third Circuit also noted there is no mention in the court record of Bartie having personally informed the court that he wanted a bench trial or that he had a conversation with his attorney about the waiver.
“Under these particular facts, absent an in-court discussion or an acknowledgment from counsel that the issue was discussed and the client consented to the waiver, or a knowing waiver is shown by other means, such as the inclusion of a statement to that effect in the body of the motion to waive jury trial, it cannot be said that Defendant knowingly and intelligently consented to the waiver of his constitutional right to a trial by jury.”