Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Pro Se Defendants

There's a report summarized at Crim Prof Blog that indicates criminal defendants representing themselves do better than if represented by appointed counsel. I wonder if whoever's defending the Morris v. Tanner case will mention this in the briefing!

If it's true in Indian Country (and why not?), then why should we care if ICRA doesn't mandate appointed counsel for indigent defendants?

Well, not everyone can stand up for themselves. And not everyone is Vernon Bellecourt.

From the Baltimore Sun report:

In the study, which is scheduled to be published in the North Carolina Law Review, [Erica] Hashimoto found that pro se felony defendants in state courts were as likely as defendants with counsel to win complete acquittal. In addition, they were more likely to be convicted of lesser offenses - misdemeanors rather than felonies, according to Hashimoto's review of data, a sample from the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data that covers the country's 75 largest counties in the even years between 1990 and 1998.


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