FERNDALE (WWJ/AP) – A man who insisted on acting as his own lawyer has persuaded the Michigan appeals court to throw out his conviction – because a judge didn’t fully explain the risk of acting as his own lawyer.

The court said Wednesday there are key steps that must be followed when a defendant wants to go solo. And in the case of Jimmy Aldaoud, Oakland County Judge Daniel O’Brien didn’t explain the length of a possible prison sentence.

Before trial, Aldaoud said he had spent 16 months – “day and night” – studying law books. He was convicted of home invasion and sentenced to at least three years in prison.

Aldaoud admitted taking tools from a Ferndale garage in April 2012 but claimed it was a misdemeanor, not a felony. He was arrested at a home on Wordsworth Street near West End Street after the homeowner called police to report that his garage door was suspiciously opening and closing.

Responding officers saw Aldaoud, described as homeless, walking with a large bag about two blocks away from the home. After stopping him, police found Aldaoud had three stolen cordless drills in the bag. Police say Aldaoud broke into an unlocked vehicle outside of the home and found the garage door opener, which he used to open the door and then make entry.

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