How do you perform brain surgery on yourself successfully in an operating room, if you happen to be a brain surgeon? That was the question I heard a judge ask a defendant who wanted to represent himself, the last time I was in court. I thought that was an excellent analogy. Most professionals don’t self administer medical procedures, or even legal procedures.
For good reason too, its enough to be the patient and its enough to be the defendant in a court of law. In order to get the best result, chances are better that someone else who isn’t on the stretcher or in the hot seat be the one to do the footwork or healing.
That was an example using someone with expert knowledge on the law and the workings of the system too. Your average Joe is really looking for trouble if he attempts to represent himself in court.
I’m not a lawyer, I’ve taken some paralegal classes and in my young adulthood I gained some knowledge on how the criminal justice system works, by attending the School of Hard Knocks. One thing that you learn quickly through observation is that people who choose to represent themselves might as well choose to hang themselves.
Its understandable for many reasons why a person would entertain the idea of representing themselves in court. It’s cheaper, if you have the free time to do all the research that a lawyer doesn’t have to do because he already knows it, not to mention the investigating and interviewing that he would have to do in regards to your unique situation. Do you know how to properly write a motion or a summons, how about a complaint?
Some judges are easy going on the technicalities that is normally expected from these documents that become a matter of record, but many expect professional, follow the letter to the rule, when it comes to any legal document. So, you will need to learn fast what a paralegal knows how to do. That all just pertains to preparing your case for trial.
Once it goes to trial, do you know how to conduct yourself in front of a group of people who are there to decide if you are guilty or not? Strangers who would rather find you guilty than deliberate for hours over the possibility that you are not? Many lawyers who know the law like the back of their hand, know that they are not meant to be arguing the cases they research.
It takes a certain type of person to be able to argue all the aspects of a law has been broken and make it interesting. So much of it is painfully boring. A good lawyer knows what he can skimp on when representing you in front of the judge and jury and what he needs to take the time to explain, do you?
When someone says you’re so self-defensive, do you take that to mean your capable of winning a fight or do you take that as you are making yourself look guilty whether you are, or not?
From my point of view, what I’ve seen is that those who choose to represent themselves end up taking up too much of the courts time and the taxpayers money. This makes for an angry judge once it’s time to impose sentencing if found guilty.
In every case where the defendant represented him or herself, if they were found guilty and all were, they received the maximum amount of time the law allotted for their crime. It’s at the descretion of the judge what the punishment will be. So, keep that in mind.
I don’t think it’s based on spite either, the judge probably thinks that you owe the system more than the guy who did the same thing you did but utilized a public defender, because of all the time you wasted and taxpayer money you cost. Then again it could just be spite. That I don’t know. I only now that the people who represented themselves ended up reaming themselves as a result.
So the most successful way to represent yourself in court is, don’t.