Interviewer: What would be benefit of hiring a private attorney as opposed to utilizing the public defender?
Randy Berman: Well, generally speaking the public defenders are younger attorneys with a lack of experience.Some are very good but some are not. Even the good ones unfortunately are saddled with huge case loads.
Huge Caseloads Render Public Defenders Less Capable of Doing a Good Job
It’s typical for a public defender to have more than a hundred cases pending at any one time. How effectively can a person, even if they’re good, do a competent job on a hundred different clients at one time? It’s pretty much impossible so, you’re running a big risk if you rely on the public defender where you could afford a private attorney who presumably has a lower caseload volume giving him more time and having more experience to do a better job.
Self-Representation in a Criminal Case
Interviewer: It is ever a good idea for someone to actually defend himself?
Randy Berman: Obviously not.The old saying is, “A man that represents himself has a fool for a client”. There is no way you should ever consider representing yourself.As smart as you might be, as knowledgeable you might be about the law. You can’t effectively present your case from an objective standpoint that it needs to be done for success. Even lawyers who get chargedwith crimes don’t represent themselves.They hire lawyers to represent them.
Depiction of Law Enforcement Scenarios on Television Rarely correspond to
Real Life Scenarios
Interviewer: Do you think it’s because a lot of people have easy access to the questions or to the answers on the internet or they may watch a lot of TV and they may feel a little over confident in this case?
Randy Berman: TV doesn’t depict what really happens. TV condenses it and makes that scene very simple and you don’t see from watching TV unless you’re watching court TV and watch all the proceedings to know how it really happens. There are so many things that can occur during the course of a trial if you’re representing yourself that you can’t possibly be aware of. You might believe that you can defend yourself because you acted inself-defense and you might think, “Well, why do I need a lawyer?
I can tell the jury how I was defending myself”, but do you know how the rules of evidence work? How do get statements in? How does get evidence in? How to keep adverse matters out? What kind of questions to ask the jury in jury selection? It goes on and on and on, all the different things that you need to know. Just knowing what your defense is and what the law says about the defense doesn’t come close to being prepared to effectively try a case.
Self-Representation Often Undermines a Legitimate Defense in a Criminal Case
The embarrassment and humiliation that most people would suffer from trying to represent themselves can very well undermine a legitimate defense that a jury would believe if it weren’t for all the errors that they commit when they try to be their own lawyer. If you’re making mistake after mistake and it seems that you’re trying to play the system, your legitimate defense might be perceived as made up or not sincere.So it’s crazy to consider representing yourself.