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hocuspocusme, USA Legal
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two questions as a judge 1. At arraignment, you ask a defendant

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two questions as a judge 1. At arraignment, you ask a defendant if he has obtained counsel yet. He replies that he wants to defend himself. He has a fifth-grade education and works as a day laborer for a local construction firm. He is charged with armed robbery and faces ten years in prison. Should you let him defend himself?

2. You are assigned to preside over a jury trial in a gruesome homicide case that has been widely publicized in the area. Although the defense does not request it, should you order a change of venue?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  hocuspocusme replied 8 years ago.
It is up to the defendant to decide if he is able to defend himself. The judge will not interfere unless he feels the defendant is not 'mentally capable', not educationally capable of defending his/herself.

Yes a judge should order a change of venue in this situation if it has been widely publicized based on the fact that the client would not receive a fair trial and some of the jurors might be predjudiced. Although, the judge might be relying on the counselors to question the jurors to find out if they are aware of the highly precedent publicized information of the case.