The Oregon ballot initiative gad-fly, Bill Sizemore, has been charged with tax evasion for failure to file income tax returns for three years. The new problem that he has raised is that he has told the trial judge that he wants to act as his own lawyer. The judge doubtless received that absurd revelation with a shudder! Does the judge fret about this? Let me count the ways.
1. Facing a calendar back-log, the judge doesn't want to take on a trial that will take three times what it would take if a lawyer were involved. 2. He will have step repeatedly out of the judicial role to tell the defendant what to do and how to do it. 3. He will have to help the defendant introduce evidence and then have to rule on its admission. 4. Trials under self-defense conditions are rife with reversal possibilities and judges do not like to be reversed. 5. Judges like their court-rooms to be orderly and judicial and the self-defender usually turns the process into a farce. 6. Even young law school graduates are not adept at participating in trials in their early days. 7. If the defendant wants to have a jury, the above reasons should be multiplied on the messiness scale by a factor of at least three.