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Date: 08-02-2022

Case Style:

United States of America v. Thomas E. Noble

Case Number: 20-1599

Judge: Chagares

Court: United States District Court for the District of Delaware (New Castle County)

Plaintiff's Attorney: United States Attorney’s Office

Defendant's Attorney:

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Description: Wilmington, Delaware criminal law lawyer represented defendant charged with possession of child pornography.

A grand jury indicted Noble in February 2018 on one
count of attempted receipt of child pornography by someone
previously convicted of a child pornography offense, in
violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252(a)(2), 2252(b)(1) and
2256(2)(A), and one count of possession of child pornography
by someone previously convicted of a child pornography
offense, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252(a)(4)(b), 2252(b)(2)
and 2256(2)(A). Shortly after being indicted, Noble indicated
to a Magistrate Judge that he wished to represent himself pro
se; the judge conducted a colloquy to ensure that Noble was
knowingly and voluntarily waiving his right to counsel. The
judge granted Noble’s request to proceed pro se, and appointed
an attorney from the Federal Public Defender’s Office as
standby counsel.

A few months thereafter, in July 2018, Noble
announced at a status hearing that he was invoking his “Fifth
Amendment right to be silent.” Supplemental Appendix
(“Supp. App.”) 70. Noble had filed numerous pro se motions
accusing the District Judge of criminal conduct, alleging that
all attorneys and judges within this circuit were controlled by
the “illuminati,” and demanding that his case be transferred to
a court outside the Third Circuit. He stated that he intended to
remain silent until his case had been transferred and he had
been appointed new counsel.1 From that date through his trial
and sentencing, Noble did not speak in court except on two
occasions, largely refused to acknowledge or look at the
District Judge while attending hearings, and returned all legal
mail to the court.

In April 2019, almost ten months after the
announcement of his silence, the District Court scheduled a
hearing to determine whether Noble had waived or forfeited
his right to represent himself. The court asked Noble a series
of questions regarding his ability to represent himself. Noble
refused to answer any questions or acknowledge the court. The
court ordered Noble to answer each question, and found that
Noble had violated the court’s orders twelve times by not
answering them. The court determined that Noble’s behavior
was obstructionist and that Noble had therefore waived and
forfeited his right to represent himself. In May 2019, the court
appointed Noble’s standby counsel as his attorney.2

Noble was tried by a jury, convicted on both counts, and
sentenced to 180 months of imprisonment. His counsel from
the Federal Public Defender’s office filed a notice of appeal
and then filed a motion to withdraw. That motion was granted
and substitute counsel was appointed.

Outcome: Affirmed.

Plaintiff's Experts:

Defendant's Experts:


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