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Sunday, April 17, 2011

An Example Successful Pro Se Defense

This story was interesting.

Robert Constantine was charged with growing, possession, and distribution of marijuana. He chose to represent himself.

He was acquitted of a felony, but convicted of a misdemeanor. That's a partial victory, because he now faces only 60 days in jail.

That illustrates another trick prosecutors use. "File as many charges as possible and hope one sticks." The jury may have "compromised", acquitting on a serious charge but convicting on a lesser charge. If the jury's only options were a felony conviction and outright acquittal, they may had chosen acquittal.

The felony charge was an unanimous "not guilty", and not a hung jury. For a hung jury, the prosecutor gets a mulligan and may try again. For a straight acquittal, that's the end. Of course, he can still be prosecuted again if he chooses to grow marijuana again.

As a pro se defendant, the judge did allow him to discuss "jury nullification". However, in a higher-stakes trial, the judge may not have allowed it.

That was an example of someone succeeding, when they choose to represent themselves. If falsely charged with a crime, I may choose to represent myself. Hopefully, I'll avoid that, but it's less likely to occur if I'm prepared.

1 comment:

DC said...

. . . and all the while US troops in Afghanistan protect the poppy fields under their control.

It seems that logic is not a passion of government.


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