Defendants who choose to appear pro se may do so because they believe they may gain tactical advantages against the prosecutor, such as obtaining sympathy from the jury, the opportunity to personally address the jury and witnesses. Pro se appearances may also delay the trial proceedings and enhance the possibility of a mistrial and a subsequent appeal.
The novel begins on April Fool’s Day, with the boarding of a steamer by a man who is, “in the extremest sense of the word, a stranger.” Over the course of the day, a number of apparitions wink into and out of existence on the same boat peddling several schemes. They might all be the same man, in what Melville calls “his masquerade.” They refer to each other, and each picks up where the last one left off. They talk up stock in something called the Black River Coal Company and ask for donations to the Seminole Widow and Orphan Asylum. Shares in a New Jerusalem founded by “fugitive Mormons” are offered. One, an herb-doctor, sells natural cures with names like the Omni-Balsamic Reinvigorator and the Samaritan Pain Dissuader. Another has a proposal for a World's Charity, funded by a small tax on every member of the human race. He proposes to bring the “Wall Street spirit” to charity, offering contracts for the conversion of the heathens to end the “lethargy of monopoly” which plagues the current missionary system. In his breathless enthusiasm for the power of the market this one could fit right in on the New York Times op-ed page, but all of these charlatans are recognizable American types.
James Traficant, the colorful congressman from Ohio, defended himself twice. The first time was on bribery charges during his time as a local sheriff in the early 80s. He succeeded with a daring argument that his bribe-taking was really part of a corruption investigation that he himself was running. The second time didn't work out so well. He was convicted of some impropriety with campaign funds, got kicked out of the House, and went to prison for several years.
The Supreme Court has held that where a statute permits attorney's fees to be awarded to the prevailing party, the attorney who prevails in a case brought under a federal statute as a pro se litigant is not entitled to an award of attorney's fees. This ruling was based on the court's determination that such statutes contemplate an attorney-client relationship between the party and the attorney prosecuting or defending the case, and that Congress intends to encourage litigants to seek the advice of a competent and detached third party. As the court noted, the various circuits had previously agreed in various rulings "that a pro se litigant who is not a lawyer is not entitled to attorney's fees".
The Center helps judges and courts advance access to civil justice, especially for poor and low-income individuals, by offering resources on 15 strategies and technical assistance. It works closely with the Conference of Chief Justices, the Conference of State Court Administrators and other national court organizations to implement access-to-justice solutions.
The Judiciary Act of 1789, one of those laws, states that "in all courts of the United States, the parties may plead and manage their own causes personally." It follows that federal judges must respect the pro se litigants' right to represent themselves. Thus, the Supreme Court and Congress have means to remedy the problems with federal judges who disrespect and ignore the rights of pro se litigants.
I've spent a lot of time sending accessibility complaints to the DOJ for the "mediation process", which is supposed to be a faster way to get better compliance. No response. I waited and got no response. I'm still waiting for, at the very least, a letter confirming that they received the things, let alone tell me what action, if any, they would be taking. Nothing.
The Supreme Court noted that "[i]n the federal courts, the right of self-representation has been protected by statute since the beginnings of our Nation. Section 35 of the Judiciary Act of 1789, 1 Stat. 73, 92, enacted by the First Congress and signed by President Washington one day before the Sixth Amendment was proposed, provided that 'in all the courts of the United States, the parties may plead and manage their own causes personally or by the assistance of counsel.'"