This is a Shelby County Case that was reported by the TN Supreme Court at http://www.tncourts.gov/OPINIONS/TSC/sc1qtr2010.shtml
State of Tennessee v. Tommy Holmes –Shelby County– Supreme Court granted permission to appeal in this case to address whether the trial court erred in ruling that an indigent defendant forfeited his right to counsel at trial by telling his appointed lawyer, “I know how to get rid of you,” and, at a subsequent meeting, physically assaulting his lawyer by striking the lawyer«s eyeglasses with his finger. The defendant was tried by a jury pro se and convicted of aggravated rape. Supreme Court held that, under the facts and circumstances of this case, the trial court committed reversible error in ruling that the defendant had forfeited his right to appointed counsel at trial. While the defendant«s physical attack on his lawyer was serious misconduct, it did not rise to the level of “extremely serious misconduct” sufficient to warrant an immediate forfeiture. State v. Carruthers, 35 S.W.3d516, 548 (Tenn. 2000). Because the defendant was erroneously denied his fundamental constitutional right to counsel, we must reverse his conviction and remand this matter for appointment of new counsel and a new trial. The judgment of the Court of Criminal Appeals is reversed.