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Why Do judges Think Defending Yourself in a Criminal Case is a Horrible Idea?
If I had to put myself in a judge’s shoes and determine the worst part of a pro per, which is a defendant who defends themselves, it would have to be that they don’t know any of the rules and they don’t know the proper way to ask the court to do something. Often, the court can’t do anything because they’re supposed to be in the middle, unbiased, and if you don’t ask them to do what you need them to do and you can’t provide them with the proof and a worthy explanation for your request they may not be able to grant it.
For example, suppose a lot of medical stuff has happened, and the defendant needs more time to prepare their case. That defendant doesn’t know what proof they need to give to the court, or how to ask for what they need, but if they don’t do that, they won’t get the continuance they need.
There have been times when a client has taken as much as six months to prepare and needs to go back to court to get a few months more. But the court can’t do that if the prosecutor is objecting, and they don’t know how to ask the right way, or provide the proof they need in order to get the time.
When people represent themselves, their requests are often denied because they don’t know the rules of evidence, and the court can’t just admit stuff for you if you don’t follow the rules.