CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Study Shows Pro Se Defense Works

From the Baltimore Sun:  "Erica Hashimoto, a professor at the University of Georgia School of Law, recently set out to determine whether empirical data supported the assumption most lawyers make: that pro se defendants, as they are technically called, are "either mentally ill or stupid."  In the study, which is scheduled to be published in the North Carolina Law Review, Hashimoto found that pro se felony defendants in state courts were as likely as defendants with counsel to win complete acquittal. In addition, they were more likely to be convicted of lesser offenses - misdemeanors rather than felonies, according to Hashimoto's review of data, a sample from the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data that covers the country's 75 largest counties in the even years between 1990 and 1998.  Those findings were not replicated when she examined data of felony defendants who appeared in federal court between 1998 and 2003, though in both pools, pro se defendants went to trial - that is, they pleaded not guilty - at higher rates than their counterparts."  Story... [Mark Godsey]

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