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High court: limits to defend oneself in court

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posted on Jun, 19 2008 @ 04:28 PM
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High court: limits to defend oneself in court


www.csmonitor.com

Washington - Criminal defendants do not have a constitutional right to represent themselves in court when a judge determines their mental capabilities aren't up to the task of producing the appearance of a fair trial.

In a major 7-to-2 decision announced on Thursday, the US Supreme Court carved out an exception to the Sixth Amendment's guarantee of the assistance of counsel – or to choose to have no counsel at all.

The high court ruled against a man diagnosed with mental illness who was found by a judge to be competent to stand trial on an attempted murder charge but deemed not competent enough to fire his court-appointed lawyer and represent himself at the trial.

The judge found that the defendant lacked certain "abilities" – such as legal expertise and communications skills – to mount an effective defense.
(visit the link for the full news article)


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posted on Jun, 19 2008 @ 04:28 PM
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Is this taking taking away peoples right to look.....well,...
....crazy?
""The Constitution permits States to insist upon representation by counsel for those competent enough to stand trial … but who still suffer from severe mental illness to the point where they are not competent to conduct trial proceedings by themselves," Justice Breyer writes."
But, then should they be expected to stand trial???



www.csmonitor.com
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Jun, 19 2008 @ 05:02 PM
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Just another example of how the Constiution means nothing to the government.

If you are to "mentally incompetant" to represent yourself, then you are not competant enough to stand trial. End of story.

And at the opposite end of the stick we have this...


The judge found that the defendant lacked certain "abilities" – such as legal expertise and communications skills – to mount an effective defense.


So in other words, if you aren't a lawyer, you can't defend yourself? So what's the point of the Constitution?



posted on Jun, 19 2008 @ 05:17 PM
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Originally posted by jackinthebox
Just another example of how the Constiution means nothing to the government.


Really? Care to show me where in the Constitution it guarantees a defendant the right to represent themselves? I see where it grants them the right of legal counsel and legal representation, but I fail to see the words "the right to act as one's own legal counsel shall not be infringed upon" anywhere in the document.

I expect this will be used more as a spring board by the bleeding hearts to stop trials against those who are unfit to represent themselves because, obviously, a moron cannot be held responsible for their crimes even if it is demonstrated that they knew right from wrong. There are a lot of people out there who commit crime they know is a crime but who are so stupid couldn't pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel, let alone adequately represent themselves before a jury. While I personally could care less if someone who fits that description goes to jail on account of their own stupidity, I can understand based on the costs of mistrials and potential lawsuits should they later be found to have been discriminated against based on their IQ the reason for this ruling.



posted on Jun, 19 2008 @ 05:38 PM
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reply to post by burdman30ott6
 




Really? Care to show me where in the Constitution it guarantees a defendant the right to represent themselves? I see where it grants them the right of legal counsel and legal representation, but I fail to see the words "the right to act as one's own legal counsel shall not be infringed upon" anywhere in the document.


There are some legal precedents...



Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975). Even if the defendant exercises his right to his detriment, the Constitution ordinarily guarantees him the opportunity to do so. A defendant who represents himself cannot thereafter complain that the quality of his defense denied him effective assistance of counsel. Id. at 834-35 n.46. Related to the right of self-representation is the right to testify in one's own defense. Rock v. Arkansas, 483 U.S. 44 (1987)

US Supreme Court Center

Still the point is.....Are they competent to stand trial? Or is this a law to protect people from themselves?



posted on Jun, 19 2008 @ 05:51 PM
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reply to post by burdman30ott6
 



Really? Care to show me where in the Constitution it guarantees a defendant the right to represent themselves?


Since when does one need the right to defend themselves as if it were a privilege?



In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right...to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
www.usconstitution.net...


Or perhaps you are of the opinion that the officers in the Sean Bell case should have been forced to partake of their right to trial by jury?

www.abovetopsecret.com...





[edit on 6/19/0808 by jackinthebox]



posted on Jun, 19 2008 @ 06:52 PM
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Originally posted by jackinthebox
Since when does one need the right to defend themselves as if it were a privilege?


Huge difference between the right to defend yourself and the right to legal representation. In England, defendants often had neither. The right to defend yourself is simply the right to have your side of the case heard with full knowledge of the charges and evidence being used against you. The right to legal representation is the right to appoint someone to assist you in your defense. Your question makes no sense as it seems to indicate you don't understand the difference between rights and privileges.

As for precident, that's swell but precident isn't a binding Constitutional doctrine. It merely reflects the opinion of the court. This is why we still have a large group of people who believe that someday Roe vs Wade will be readdressed and the opinion of the court changed. Now, if an ammendment was made declaring the right to an abortion, it would be iron clad and set in stone as a right by the Constitution. The fact remains, however, that until the court made that ruling, the existing precident was that there was no right to an abortion. Precidents change, rights do not.



posted on Jun, 19 2008 @ 07:04 PM
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reply to post by burdman30ott6
 



In England, defendants often had neither.


Hence the Declaration of Independence.



The right to defend yourself is simply the right to have your side of the case heard with full knowledge of the charges and evidence being used against you. The right to legal representation is the right to appoint someone to assist you in your defense.


Wow, really?
Was there a point hidden in there?



Your question makes no sense as it seems to indicate you don't understand the difference between rights and privileges.


No, it appears that you are the one that cannot make the distinction. That was my point.

Are you trying to argue that if a person does not get a lawyer, they then waive their right to defend themselves?


[edit on 6/19/0808 by jackinthebox]



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