Criminal Law Update:
“He who represents himself has a fool for a client.” Quote by Abraham Lincoln.
Nidal Hasan has defied those famous words from the great President Lincoln.
Major Nidal Hasan is the Army psychiatrist who is on trial for killing 13 people while on a shooting rampage almost four years ago in Fort Hood, Texas.
Hasan is an American born Muslim who allegedly believed that he was killing on behalf of the mujahideen (holy warriors). He allegedly fired more than 200 rounds at unarmed soldiers while yelling “God is great” and believed he had a jihad duty to kill as many as possible.
Interestingly enough, he has chosen to represent himself, not with the plan of winning, but instead losing. It appears that he is proud of his actions and wants to be remembered as a terrorist that killed for his faith. In his attempt to become a martyr, he started his opening statement by stating that the evidence would show that he is the shooter and that he carried out the killings on behalf of the mujahideen. At least this self represented defendant wants to lose.
One of the basic things taught in law school is that you are a fool to represent yourself in most cases. Attorneys to go school after college for at least three years and have to take a comprehensive and difficult bar exam to practice law. They study many legal doctrines, rules, and procedures that a layperson would never know without this extensive education. Unfortunately, not everyone sees it this way. I have seen defendants represent themselves in criminal court and it is a sad and painful sight to see someone make numerous legal errors while their freedom hangs on the line. Would you let a surgeon operate on you that didn’t go to medical school? I didn’t think so.
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