Self-representation in court should be outlawed: iLIVE
The constitution guarantees the right to legal representation for those arrested, detained or appearing in court.
When appearing in court the accused are advised of their rights. These include legal representation; a private attorney at own cost, an attorney at the state's expense or self-representation.
I want to concentrate and comment on the third, which, according to my experience, is a problem in our courts. I submit or humbly request that this right be revoked and that representation by qualified attorneys must be made compulsory at all times.
This is necessary for the following reasons:
- Accused persons, no matter how educated, become emotionally involved in matters they are faced with and cannot concentrate in the same way an independent and qualified attorney would;
- Most of the people who prepare for trials on their own do so because they believe in their innocence and are confident they can answer questions. But they do not have a clear understanding of court procedure;
- Even those who are legally qualified hire independent legal representatives;
- Those who opt to represent themselves are responsible for court backlogs as a result of unnecessary court delays and convictions. Let us remember that qualified prosecutors fight to get convictions;
- When the going gets tough , the self-representing ask for a lawyer. The attorney appointed then has to get transcribed records and this results in further delays ; and
- Some accused confirm the trial date but change their mind, or on the day ask for documents and time to prepare, causing further delays.
Given that the court is the guardian for everyone who appears in it, I submit that, just like a parent with a child who refuses to eat can force them to, the same applies to the court. It can compel the accused person to get legal representation.
I don't believe that this will be a violation of the accused's rights, in a similar way to the law that a grown-up child who is 16 or under cannot consent to sex.
I see no reason why legal representation cannot be made compulsory to avoid backlogs and unnecessary convictions of the innocent.
For those who cannot afford private attorneys there are organisations that can do so at state expense.
The court also has a duty to show that the accused is defended by an experienced, competent and qualified legal representative.