405-778-4800
Criminal Attorney Oklahoma Defense Lawyer Adam R. Banner OKLAHOMA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY AT LAW
This Attorney is Lead Counsel Rated. Click here for more Information.

Why Self-Representation is a Bad Idea

02-May-2014

Most of us know that when we have a serious problem to solve, turning to a professional for help is the best plan of action. 

Need a house built? Sure, you have a hammer and some nails, but without an architect, a builder, and a team of contractors, your home sweet home will be inhabitable.

Have a toothache? Well, you could take a rock and hammer it out à la Tom Hanks in Castaway, or you could call a trained dentist who safely and painlessly extract the tooth and cure the infection.

Is your appendix about to burst? I'm no doctor, but I'm fairly confident there is no way you can get it out yourself without dying in the process.

So what makes people think that representing themselves in a criminal case is any different? As the old adage goes, the man who represents himself has a fool for a client. That quote, or a variation, is often attributed to Abraham Lincoln, who was himself no dummy.

After all, having effective legal counsel is a constitutionally protected right. It is so important to get adequate representation that  if you cannot afford a lawyer, the state will appoint a public defender to your case.

Still, every so often, someone will decide that he or she can handle his or her own defense. Maybe the defendant is so tight that he or she is trying to save a few bucks in attorney's fees. Maybe the defendant has trust issues or paranoia that leads him or her to believe no one else will handle the case right. Maybe the defendant is a raging egomaniac who thinks that, even without education and experience, he or she is an expert on all things.

Regardless of one's misguided reasons for self-representation, it rarely, if ever, works out well.

Oklahoma County murder defendant Fabio DeMargio Brown, 26, is finding out the hard way. Brown is charged with two counts of first degree murder in the 2012 murder-for-hire deaths of his pregnant wife and her unborn child. Brown made a series of motions, including motions to suppress evidence and to require the state to pay for expert witnesses and psychological exams for his co-defendants. The judge's decisions follow:

  • Motion to quash for insufficient evidence - denied
  • Motion to suppress evidence of a VPO violation and arrest- denied
  • Motion to suppress evidence found in the victim's home because the defendant didn't consent to a search - denied
  • Motion for expert witnesses at the state's expense - denied
  • Motion for psychological exams for co-defendants - denied

How does that self-representation seem to be working out for you, Brown?

Three other co-defendant's in Brown's case have already pleaded guilty to the murder charges and been sentenced for their crimes. Maybe Brown thinks he can avoid a similar fate. However, when you're facing life in prison, it never hurts to have a little professional help.



All News

More News

Almost Half of Sheriff's Dept. Inventory Unaccounted For
27-Mar-2017

After longtime Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel stepped down, ..

Senate Passes 8 Criminal Justice Reform Bills
24-Mar-2017

In November, Oklahoma voters showed that criminal justice reform w..

Tulsa Man Sentenced in Accidental Stabbing of Toddler
20-Mar-2017

An Oklahoma man accused of throwing a knife at his girlfriend and ..

Oklahoma Bill Would Prevent DUI Offenders from Buying Alcohol
13-Mar-2017

There is no question that DUI is a dangerous problem. Each year in..

Oklahoma Legislators Propose Abortion Bans
06-Mar-2017

It's springtime in Oklahoma. You know what that means: the redbuds..

Judge to Allow Evidence of Prior "Bad Acts" in Cold Case Murder Trial
27-Feb-2017

On May 14, 1997, a Midwest City second-grader went missing from he..

School Sex Abuse Scandal Rocks Oklahoma Town
20-Feb-2017

At least three people have been arrested in connection with sex ab..

Oklahoma Law Enforcement Fights Against Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform
13-Feb-2017

Oklahoma has permissive civil asset forfeiture policies, which all..

Church Employee under Investigation for Sexual Abuse
06-Feb-2017

The theater program director of an Oklahoma City church is under c..

Governor's Task Force: 27 Recommendations for Reducing Prison Overcrowding
03-Feb-2017

Oklahoma's jails and prisons are overpopulated and understaffed. P..

×