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Should Defendants Accused of Violent Crimes Be Allowed to Represent Themselves in Court?

ABC News U.S. 2012/10/03 11:00:00
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  • CG 2012/10/04 03:09:25
    Yes, it’s their right under the law.
    CG
    +9
    They have a constitutional right to face their accuser. As someone who has been a victim and was forced to confront my attacker more than once, it can be very healing to look someone in the eye and know they can't hurt you anymore.

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  • mr 2012/10/12 09:57:07
    Yes, it’s their right under the law.
    mr
    No one REALLY knows the facts of any case until they are heard from the plaintiff and defense. Who better to defend themselves than the accused? It's still their choice to retain an expericed attorney but it's unconstitutional to deny the accused the opportunity to confront their accuser. I've represented myself on a few occasions when most people would retain an attorney. You just have to be willing to do all the work!
  • jack_kazim 2012/10/09 12:01:25
  • TombstoneJim 2012/10/08 17:00:11
    Yes, it’s their right under the law.
    TombstoneJim
    Only a fool serves as their own council - but if they want to and the judge deems them mentally capable, it is the law.
  • jenny 2012/10/08 16:03:08
    Yes, it’s their right under the law.
    jenny
    it is in the constitution, people have the right to face their accusers
  • bags the Indigenous Guru 2012/10/08 14:46:27
    Yes, it’s their right under the law.
    bags the Indigenous Guru
    I've never liked it, it seems like they get a shot at re-victimizing their victim, but that's only if they're guilty. I can see other scenarios where this could be a true benefit, and that's why the law is written the way it is. So that the accused is assured of someone who will 'ask the hard questions' and have their welfare uppermost. It's all in how the victim responds - and I say this from personal experience.
  • Maat56 2012/10/08 14:01:32
    Yes, it’s their right under the law.
    Maat56
    No difference!
  • Scandalf 2012/10/08 12:11:24
    Yes, it’s their right under the law.
    Scandalf
    Does it really make any difference?
  • Sean 2012/10/08 09:23:52
    Yes, it’s their right under the law.
    Sean
    Being accused of a violent crime is quite a bit different than being guilty, and those presumed to be innocent should have the right to defend themselves (though for something like this, they should really hire a competent attorney).
  • Man_Bear_Pig 2012/10/08 09:20:19
    Yes, it’s their right under the law.
    Man_Bear_Pig
    +1
    I think we've all seen enough court room movies to know that people who represent themselves always lose, anyway.
  • Kibbles 2012/10/08 01:58:37
    Yes, it’s their right under the law.
    Kibbles
    Yo have the right to face your accuser, it may sound cold but its fair.
  • jon 2012/10/08 00:14:34
    Yes, it’s their right under the law.
    jon
    +1
    YOU HAVE RIGHT TO FACE YOUR ACCUSER, END OF ARGUMENT.
  • Miss Fiona 2012/10/07 22:34:56
    Yes, it’s their right under the law.
    Miss Fiona
    The 14th Amendment protects their right to do so. They have the right to an attorney, as granted to them under Gideon v. Wainwright, and the 14th Amendment states that in Due Process that they do have the right to representation in court.
  • Maat56 Miss Fiona 2012/10/08 14:06:06
    Maat56
    I wish this state was true..It seem that when you go to court you are already guilty- system games. played with lives. Sad so dark, con of men! why don't we just try to understand people,,,that most of us are just hurting and want a fair chance.....Compassion!!!
  • Miss Fiona Maat56 2012/10/09 07:18:00
    Miss Fiona
    We have to examine the cold-hard facts objectively because compassion has no place in the courts. Justice is blind and has to follow the rules to avoid corruption.
  • Chi~Cat 2012/10/07 21:32:55
    Yes, it’s their right under the law.
    Chi~Cat
    To their doom, why the heck not?
  • The Elitist Libtard SodaJerk 2012/10/07 19:41:39
    Yes, it’s their right under the law.
    The Elitist Libtard SodaJerk
    I'd rather them rep themselves, Lose and face the full extent of the law as opposed to copping a plea, and facing a reduced sentence.
  • sheratan 2012/10/07 19:27:06 (edited)
    Yes, it’s their right under the law.
    sheratan
    For the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides that "in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right…to be confronted with the witnesses against him."
  • jimrthy BN-0 2012/10/07 18:19:33
    Yes, it’s their right under the law.
    jimrthy BN-0
    Ouch, that's nasty.

    Since a lawyer representing himself is almost as bad an idea as a doctor diagnosing himself...I'm pretty sure that, ultimately, these monsters will get what they deserve.

    I don't have much (any?) faith in America's "justice" system. But, really. If I'm on a jury, and I see the accused turn down a public defender to badger an alleged victim? I'll probably vote "guilty" and for the maximum penalty.

    This is one of those situations where playing games is a *really* bad idea. Then again...anyone stupid enough to wind up in this situation deserves what they get.

    It sucks for the victim, of course. At the same time, this is is an opportunity for the prosecutor to really milk the jury and take strategic advantage of the defendant's stupidity.

    Then again. I have a friend or two who's been through the whole "violent crime" thing. They got so disgusted with the cops that they decided to just drop the charges. The system's *way* more broken than this question seems to even start looking at.
  • Woof 2012/10/07 17:04:16
    No, it’s unfair to victims who may be cross-examined by their attackers at tr...
    Woof
    No.
  • Scandalf Woof 2012/10/08 12:13:19
    Scandalf
    Why!?!
  • Woof Scandalf 2012/10/08 16:42:25 (edited)
    Woof
    +1
    it’s unfair to victims who may be cross-examined by their attackers at trial. That issue recently came up in a case where a boy witnessed the accused murder his entire family , siblings mother & and the rest. The public was outraged that the court would even consider it. The boy was expected to look the bastard in the face and show restraint. Not feel frightened or intimidated ?
    Well that's not going to happen, the boy didn't want to be questioned by him. From what I understand he sat there and couldn't do anything but cry. My heart goes to the poor kid.
  • Scandalf Woof 2012/10/08 17:08:39
    Scandalf
    But if the Court is just, this should further ruin the accused's situation!
    I understand however the psychological torment of the victim, but a lawyer could do far worse!
  • Woof Scandalf 2012/10/08 17:27:45
    Woof
    +1
    I don't think so, nothing's worse than being required to treat your family's murderer in a civil manner as you would a defendants attorney. It's unnecessary, in my eyes I think the man can really get a good trial without tormenting the kid.
  • mr Woof 2012/11/11 21:03:02
    mr
    +1
    I DO see your point, touche!
  • Elementer 2012/10/07 16:25:10
    Yes, it’s their right under the law.
    Elementer
    They're innocent until PROVEN guilty. The only case where they shouldn't be allowed to defend themselves if they're mentally impaired.
  • Frank 2012/10/07 15:29:14
    Yes, it’s their right under the law.
    Frank
    "Accused" is the key word here. Why shouldn't a possibly innocent person be given the same rights of any other individual. It may be problematic- but how do you prevent the abuse without protecting the right of someone accused? Because someone is accused- that does not mean they are guilty. If we act to limit the rights of the accused- then all that is necessary to take away the rights of an individual is to accuse them of a crime.
  • Not-A-RINO 2012/10/07 15:14:37
    Yes, it’s their right under the law.
    Not-A-RINO
    The defendant has the right to be represented by an attorney. If the defendant believes in some way they are as qualified as an attorney, they must live with the verdict if it doesn't go his way. Decisions have consequences and the accused has to fully understand this is not some game with a "do-over".
  • Rusty Bubbles 2012/10/07 12:27:21
    Yes, it’s their right under the law.
    Rusty Bubbles
    +1
    Save a bundle on public defenders, quicken the trial, and put themselves away for longer periods

    A man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client
  • Bill 2012/10/07 12:10:29
    Yes, it’s their right under the law.
    Bill
    +1
    YES. It virtually guarantees conviction. I think that only those with an ego such as that are guilty in the first place. I see these situation on Discovery I.D. a lot and they tend to think they are smarter than their lawyers and that they can schmooze the jury (such as Ted Bundy). It didn't work out for him too well. LOL He ended up riding lightning on "Old Sparky" in Florida.
  • ruru 2012/10/07 04:11:02
    No, it’s unfair to victims who may be cross-examined by their attackers at tr...
    ruru
    Not a psychopath like that one. It was unfair for the poor lady who had already suffered years of torment from the accused. Looks like the victim should have some rights.
  • Not-A-RINO ruru 2012/10/07 15:18:28
    Not-A-RINO
    The victim should be given an opportunity to speak out prior to sentencing. The victim also gets the satisfaction of seeing the defendant being hauled away to prison for a long time.
  • ruru Not-A-RINO 2012/10/10 06:04:12
    ruru
    +1
    Did you see the program that the question pertained to? He was a psychopathic stalker who had stalked a woman for years. Then he served as his own attorney. The victim of a crime should not have to face their tormentor in my opinion.
  • Not-A-RINO ruru 2012/10/10 20:04:12
    Not-A-RINO
    While you might not like any victim to have to face their tormentor, the law states every defendant has the right to face their accuser(s). The question is for the victim to know how badly she wants her tormentor to go to prison. I am sure the judge will take her statements into account during sentencing - something that was often denied in years past.
  • ruru Not-A-RINO 2012/10/11 04:51:36
    ruru
    You are missing my point completely.
  • Not-A-RINO ruru 2012/10/12 03:49:24
    Not-A-RINO
    Okay, that happens now and then. What exactly is your point you are trying to convey?
  • ruru Not-A-RINO 2012/10/13 04:32:07
    ruru
    My point is that he stalked her for years and he was allowed to torment her on the stand by acting as his own attorney. He had some kind of mental illness. My guess would be a psychopath and something else
  • Not-A-RINO ruru 2012/10/13 13:03:42
    Not-A-RINO
    +1
    I see your point, but being able to face this nutcase in court should have given her some satisfaction of knowing his worthless butt will be in jail for a long time. This is one golden opportunity to set the record straight and let everyone know why the key to his jail cell should be thrown away after he dons his orange coveralls.

    I do understand your position well as I watched a guy who had been smoking dope all day and then go out drinking thumb his nose to the system. This guy hit my brother with his van and threw him 110ft. My brother laid in the hospital for eight months before he died at 21 years old. The perpetrator never paid a fine, lose his driver's license or anything. He was so intoxicated he had to hang onto the side of the state police car to walk. Of course this was in 1981 when the idea of victims having rights was simply a novelty rather than a reality. In the end, I have to believe ultimately there would be some justice given to this guy especially since his attitude was that of "screw you if you don't like it". The other part of his justice was looking at his enormous legal bills from his shyster lawyer who helped skew the facts and get him off.
  • mr ruru 2012/11/11 21:05:47
    mr
    +1
    Unfortunately, these days, the perpetrators have more rights than the victims. One "lifer" has FOUR Master's degrees!!!!!! I can't even take a Yoga class because I can't afford it and he has FOUR Master's degrees.....I REALLY don't get THAT and it makes my blood boil!
  • ruru mr 2012/11/12 05:06:21
    ruru
    Mine too.
  • Flamingo Flame Gem *AFCL* 2012/10/07 04:10:25
    Yes, it’s their right under the law.
    Flamingo Flame Gem *AFCL*
    Let them....they always wind up being put back in the Kalahoosee house, serving more time ......I always say........ http://cdnet.myxer.com/tn/c/6...

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