FLDS TRIALS: Self-representation carries many risks

San Angelo Standard-Times-Either way, “It’s a common belief that it’s a bad idea,” said Patrick Metze, the director of criminal clinics for the Texas Tech School of Law, of self-representation.

The Warren Jeffs trial took an interesting, if not entirely unexpected, turn on Thursday when the 55-year-old leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints fired his seasoned defense team and asked for permission to represent himself.

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Either way, “It’s a common belief that it’s a bad idea,” said Patrick Metze, the director of criminal clinics for the Texas Tech School of Law, of self-representation.

Metze, who is following the Jeffs trial, predicts Jeffs may rehire his attorneys once he realizes he is in over his head. Metze said the basic proceedings of a trial, everything from the rules of evidence to the way witnesses are called and what they can and can’t be asked, are tricky and could cause someone who is unfamiliar with them to get frustrated and give up.

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