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Cody W. Dowden, Attorney at Law

Maintaining the Right to Represent Yourself - 8th Circuit Court of Appeals - July 29, 2016

U.S. v. Smith - While it is not always wise to represent yourself in court, you have the right to do it if you want to. In this case, a federal judge in Fayetteville denied a man the right to represent himself in a criminal trial. The reasoning was that the judge anticipated (though without any proof) that the man on trial would use his lack of knowledge about trial procedure to effectively gum up the works and turn his trial into a circus. But the 8th Circuit said it doesn't matter: you have a right to do it and without good cause that right can't be denied.

As the old saying goes, a man who represents himself has a fool for a client. But then again, sometimes you just have to have faith in yourself.