Rochester man convicted of threatening ex-girlfriend may get a new trial

(ABC 6 News) – A Rochester man who was charged with stalking and threats of violence against his ex-girlfriend in 2020 may get a new trial.

Court documents say that in April 2020, Levell Darrell Booth, 28, went to his ex-girlfriends house in Rochester, and threatened to damage her personal property along with threatening her life in a text message saying, “I’m taking your life from you.”

Booth was located and arrested without incident by Rochester police.

Booth pleaded guilty to the charges, and on June 29, 2021 and was sentenced to 30 months at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud. He was credited for 258 days already served.

Booth was given a public defender, but then filed an appeal and a petition to the court asking to waive his right to an attorney and represent himself.

The court failed to address his petition effectively denying Booth’s right to self-representation, and have reversed the conviction.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals says, “The Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution protect the right of defendants in state criminal trials to represent themselves. Wrongful denial of a defendant’s right to self-representation is one of ‘a very limited class of errors, referred to as structural errors, that require automatic reversal of a conviction.’”

Therefore, the case has been sent back to the court for a possible retrial.