Orange County courts have been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Alleged cop-killer Markieth Lloyd made a splash when he refused his court-appointed attorney and demanded that he be allowed to represent himself.
Markith Lloyd has continued to further his request to act as his own lawyer and objected to a court-ordered psychological evaluation. The judge in the case has allowed him to act on his own behalf so far but appointed an attorney on a “standby” basis. This has happened many times in our practice and the statement by Abraham Lincoln holds true, “he who represents himself has a fool for a client.”
While a criminal defendant may feel that they can argue their own case to the judge and the jury, being a trial lawyer is a skill that is learned after many years of study in law school and in real cases before real jurors. The rules of evidence are complex and require a sharp mind and quick thinking to win legal arguments with the judge and jury. Many cases can even be won or lost in jury selection and making sure that people with biases are not paneled as jurists.
During a criminal trial, attention to detail and active listening is required to make sure that points are made and objections are won. In addition, proper objections must be made to preserve the record in case there is an appeal after a verdict.
Most judges that allow a defendant to represent themselves will order that an attorney be ready on a stand-by basis. This means that the attorney will have access to all the police reports, witness statements and evidence gathered in the matter. They must be ready to step in at any time to take over the case or provide guidance to the defendant during the proceedings and at trial.
We have had colleagues that have been ordered to assist a defendant during trial and after a few witnesses and numerous objections being granted…they gave up. The attorney took over and thankfully was able to secure a not-guilty verdict. However, many times the damage to the defendant’s reputation and trust with the jury has been occurred and the case goes the other way.
Make a good decision in your case and hire a Board Certified Criminal Trial attorney to represent your interests and fight for your rights. Call Board Certified Criminal Trial attorney Adam Pollack at (407) 834-5297.