PROTECTING OUR MOST VULNERABLE: PLACING LIMITS ON PRO SE RAPE DEFENDANTS

55 Am. Crim. L. Rev. Online 15

Anna Fasano* 

The constitutional right for defendants to represent themselves was formally recognized by the United States Supreme Court in the 1978 case Faretta v. California. While there are many legitimate reasons for a defendant to wish to proceed pro se—including a desire to address a jury without taking the stand, a distrust of the legal system, or a belief that their attorney is not adequately representing their case—a defendant’s choice to represent themselves may also be triggered by a desire to intimidate or punish their victims. To combat these potential evils, judges must be consistent and proactive in extending protections to victims of sexual assault who are facing pro se defendants.

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