University of Kansas law professor outlines perils of self-defense at trial
"A University of Kansas law professor says that it isn’t usually a good idea for someone accused of a criminal offense to act as their own attorney, as accused Charleston shooter Dylann Roof is attempting to do.
'The Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees to individuals the right to represent themselves, said Professor Lumen 'Lou' Mulligan, the Director of the Shook, Hardy & Bacon Center for Excellence in Advocacy at KU. 'It seldom works out well for that defendant. It also creates quite a challenge for the trial court judge.'
The judge is supposed to be impartial, but that task is made more difficult by someone without formal law training.
'They have to, at the one hand, protect that person’s right to represent themselves as they see fit,' said Mulligan. 'At the same time, that person, even though they’re not trained as a lawyer, has to live up to the decorum of the courtroom. They have to follow evidentiary rules and all that type of thing.'"