The Iowa Court of Appeals has ruled a district court judge must decide whether a man accused of second degree sexual abuse should represent himself at his trial.
Thirty-nine-year-old Jody Nolan McCullah of Prairie City told a judge it didn’t take a “rocket scientist” to figure out the charges he was facing and McCullough was allowed to act as his own lawyer during his trial. He’d been arrested in 2007 and charged with sexually assaulting a 13-year-old boy in 1995.
A licensed psychologist determined McCullah was competent to stand trial on those charges. Another psychiatric evaluation found McCullah to be paranoid and to have an inflated view “of his ability to represent himself at trial.”
The Court of Appeals has directed the district court judge who handled the case to hold a hearing to determine whether McCullah was competent to represent himself at his trial. It means McCullah could get a new trial if the judge decides McCullah should not have acted as his own attorney.