November 28, 2016

Dylann Roof will represent himself.

He's on trial for murdering 9 persons in a church in Charleston, South Carolina, in June 2015.

What has he got to lose?

66 comments:

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I suspect he'll be one of those pro se guys who doesn't have much to say.

rhhardin said...

He's going for the ineffective counsel appeal.

buster said...

I realize there's a constitutional right to represent oneself in a criminal proceeding. My understanding is that the court found that Roof is competent to stand trial despite some evidence of mental instability. I think in tbe circumstances it would be a miscarriage of justice to allow him to represent himself, because of the instability. But my understanding of the circumstances is only based on press reports.

Rae said...

Think of how different a system we would have if it were simple enough that a layman could effectively represent himself in court proceedings.

Rick said...

Roof killed a bunch of people because he couldn't find any white supremacists to hang out with in South Carolina, but somehow we're in danger of white supremacists taking over the country.

Bay Area Guy said...

Quick death penalty a' la Timothy McVeigh would be appropriate.

AprilApple said...

Hang him.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

What has he got to lose?

His life. Hopefully.

Jane the Actuary said...

Roof is guilty. He has already been found competent to stand trial. From what I've read, there has been none of the sort of evidence that sometimes pops up of mental illness; the only "evidence" is the claim that no mentally sound person would do what he did. The most likely scenario is that he wants to use the trial as an opportunity to preach his message, but he's perfectly OK with the death penalty and not interested in a lawyer trying to fight for life in prison instead.

mccullough said...

There is no legitimate reason this is a federal prosecution. He should be tried in state court. Just federal preening and grandstanding. Representing himself he won't be able to effectively raise the argument that the federal government doesn't have power under the constitution to prosecute him for hate crumes

Tarrou said...

His life. That's what he has to lose. Of course, gen pop in any given prison is probably worse, soooooo.

Quaestor said...

He's going for the ineffective counsel appeal.

Nailed it.

Levi Starks said...

Interesting strategy.
I'm wondering can he be at the same time both competent to stand trial, and incompetent to represent himself?

Steve Uhr said...

It will be hard for the victims to have to answer questions from the person who murdered their loved ones.

SteveR said...

I've been told that Roof is the type of person who voted for Trump. I'm amazed at how many "smart" people are looking for a needle in a haystack as if that can make them still feel superior.

Brando said...

I'm hard pressed to imagine even a great lawyer getting this guy even a life sentence. May as well represent himself so he can cross it off his bucket list.

Franklin said...

I wish the media would also give us stories about the Dallas Assassin, or do 5 cops not rate a mention about the motives of the shooter?

traditionalguy said...
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damikesc said...

I anxiously await the return of copious usage of the "N" word in testimony.

Dude is a moron.

It will be hard for the victims to have to answer questions from the person who murdered their loved ones.

I'd imagine the biggest difficulty would be remaining seated and not beating the living hell out of him. Few deserve a savage beating more.

eric said...

How long before he is being interviewed and asked such pressing questions like, "How much did you donate to Trump and how many times did you vote for him?"

MisterBuddwing said...

Maybe it's an urban myth, but I recall the story of a robbery suspect who insisted on representing himself at trial. During his cross-examination of the victim, the man grilled her with questions like, "Are you sure you got a good look at me when I held you up?" Three guesses how that turned out.

David Begley said...

Mister@11:50

There is a list of trial transcripts with similar questions. The one you cite is probably true.

SukieTawdry said...

They should give him his shoelaces back and hope for the best.

Brando said...

If I were him I might prefer the death sentence. In the general prison population he wouldn't last long, and it'd likely be more brutal than a state-sponsored execution.

Rocketeer said...

What has he got to lose?

Oh. Ohhhhh. I see what you did there.

Unknown said...

Maybe he'll wax eloquent on all of Trump's alt white right attributes. If he had TV in his protective custody cell that is. Can't wait to hear what he has to say.

Trumpit said...

If our prisons system is that brutal then it must be fixed. Getting raped or murdered in prison is cruel and unusual punishment, and shouldn't happen in a civilized society.

I don't know why he is representing himself. I once represented myself in a wrongful death case involving my mother's intentional morphine overdose by two doctors in the hospital (I was at her beside when the youngish ER nurses followed criminal phone orders to overdose her to hide the side effects of a tranquilizer) after 6 sickeningly bad crooked attorneys failed me, and grossly ripped me off. I needed a good lawyer, and I was willing to pay for it, and it never materialized for reasons I won't explain. The judge was a sickening pro-defense / pro-doctor monstrosity of bias and stupidity. I had immense difficulty in getting a physician to say that ANYTHING bad happened. The doctors (so-called experts) I asked to review the records also ripped me off. The defendants has little trouble finding doctors willing to lie for them. I finally found a top doctor out of state, who said what needed to be said, but it was too late with this joke of a judge who dismissed my case.

It is a sad (for my mother and me), yet interesting story that is worthy of a book, not a comment on a blog.

Larry J said...

Quaestor said...
He's going for the ineffective counsel appeal.

Nailed it.


There's no doubt that Roof was warned against representing himself. Since he was warned, it seems unlikely ineffective counsel would be a successful defense tactic. Ted Bundy represented himself in court and we all know how well that worked for him.

Brando said...

Larry J--re: Ted Bundy, did he lose because he was a poor advocate for himself, or would he likely have lost anyway due to the strength of the prosecution's case?

FullMoon said...

Unknown said... [hush]​[hide comment]

Maybe he'll wax eloquent on all of Trump's alt white right attributes. If he had TV in his protective custody cell that is. Can't wait to hear what he has to say


Nope, he is going with this instead:
Hugh Christopher Newsom, Jr., 23, and Channon Gail Christian, 21, were a couple from Knoxville, Tennessee. They were tortured, gang-raped, and murdered after being kidnapped early on the morning of January 7, 2007, while their vehicle was being carjacked.[1] Both murders have been classified as premeditated.[2]

Five suspects have been arrested and charged in the case.[3] The grand jury has indicted the 5 suspects with a total of 46 counts including torture, murder, and rape.[2]

Christian and Newsom had gone on a date at a local restaurant on Saturday, January 6, 2007, but did not return home. During their drive, the couple was “hijacked, bound and blindfolded and taken back to Davidson’s apartment.”[4]

At Davidson’s apartment, Newsom had apparently been gang-raped in Channon’s presence. Some reports state that his penis had been severed from his body prior to his death.[4] This has not been confirmed.[5] According to Officer Todd Childress, “Newsom’s body was wrapped in a ‘sheet and/or comforter,’ and that the victim had been shot at least three times. He also notes that Newsom’s shoes, socks, identification, and iPod were missing. His body had been burned.”[6]
it has been sugested that the primary objectives of the perpetrators was their desire to kidnap, torture, rape, and murder, instead of a simple hijacking.[7] An envelope recovered from the vehicle yielded fingerprint evidence that led police to Lemaricus Davidson and 2316 Chipman Street. When police went to the address on Tuesday, January 9, they found the home unoccupied and Christian’s body in a trash can in the kitchen. She had been dismembered, her body found in five separate trash bags.[8] It has been alleged that for two days she had been gang-raped multiple times, vaginally, anally, and orally, and beaten and urinated upon. Reports have also indicated that Christian was forced to drink bleach or a similar liquid, in an attempt to remove DNA evidence. Some reports also state that her breasts had been cut from her body, prior to her death.[4] This has not been confirmed.[6] Newsom’s body was found adjacent to railroad tracks in East Knoxville the next afternoon.[4]

coupe said...
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Ann Althouse said...

"His life. That's what he has to lose."

With or without a lawyer. What difference is there?

Larry J said...

Brando said...
Larry J--re: Ted Bundy, did he lose because he was a poor advocate for himself, or would he likely have lost anyway due to the strength of the prosecution's case?


Perhaps some of both. IIRC, Bundy had attended law school but didn't graduate.

Unknown said...

Full Moon must think the same way Dylann Roof does, since he can so easily predict what he will say.

Brando said...

Larry J--yeah I recall he had some legal education background. Though even if he were a great lawyer, it doesn't make him a good criminal defense lawyer, and representing himself poses a number of challenges (including being able to review evidence or talk with witnesses while doing it from jail).

Quaestor said...

Ted Bundy represented himself in court and we all know how well that worked for him.

I don't know whether Ted Bundy ever made an appeal on those grounds, however one must remember that Bundy was a high-functioning psychopath. Roof on the other hand would be lucky to break 100 with the wind at his back.

Trumpit said...

The fact is that Trump and his vicious campaign unleashed a torrent of latent racism in many white people, and it is deplorable, vile and ongoing as anyone can see on the internet daily. The worst possible effect of such racism is genocide. Dylann Roof carried out a mini genocide of his own although this was not related to Trump (I don't believe).

It simply takes one juror who doesn't believe in the death penalty, feels that he is deranged, or feels sorry for him to keep him from being put to death. He's entitled to a good lawyer try to save his ass. Surely, some psychologist or psychiatrist would testify that he is or was out of his mind. He, on his own, is much more likely to fail miserably. Good, ethical lawyers are very rare and worth their weight in gold.

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Quaestor said...

I want Trumpit's brain. I'd put it in a jar right next to Abby Someone.

Trumpit said...

I might add that one racist juror might hang the jury on the death penalty.

FullMoon said...

UnknownInga said...

Full Moon must think the same way Dylann Roof does, since he can so easily predict what he will say.


Reliably unimaginative ridiculous retort.

Drago said...

Trumpit: "I might add that one racist juror might hang the jury on the death penalty."

There was more than 1 racist juror on the OJ jury that helped him escape justice, so anything is possible.

Drago said...

Trumpit: "The fact is that Trump and his vicious campaign unleashed a torrent of latent racism in many white people, and it is deplorable, vile and ongoing as anyone can see on the internet daily"

Take a look at this to see what a real torrent of racism looks like: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/

Just a bunch of Trumpits out for a sunday walk no doubt.

Steve Uhr said...

Trump buddy Alex Jones says Sandy Hook was a hoax. So maybe this mass shooting is also a figment of our imagination orchestrated by Obama and company ... ?

CJ said...

How much time will Nightly News broadcasts devote to this story, which is about a crime which occurred over a year ago vs. the Ohio State attack, which occurred today?

Brando said...

I'd be curious how he'd defend himself. Try to convince the jury they caught the wrong guy? Argue he was trying to defend himself from that pack of old church ladies? Or that he's insane, but sane enough to represent himself in court? If the highly realistic legal drama "Primal Fear" is any indication, he just has to act crazy a bit in front of the judge and s/he will just say "wow, he's nuts! Case dismissed!"

mockturtle said...

It's too bad he didn't shoot himself, as some mass shooters do. Better yet, before he committed these atrocities. I'd rather see him get death than life.

Bricap said...

How often are pro se defenses successful? And can a failed pro se defense actually be a basis for ineffective counsel? The answer is no in North Carolina, apparently. Would it be the same in South Carolina?

walter said...

He won't let go this chance to deliver his oh so profound message.

Michael K said...

From what I have read about that case, I still think the kid is psychotic. Since society has abandoned the concept of treatment of mental illness, he has no where to go and might as well b executed. Although, of course, only Texas executes anyone anymore.

Amanda said...

He shouldn't be on death row! buy the poor kid some more Mcdonalds !

damikesc said...

Trump buddy Alex Jones says Sandy Hook was a hoax. So maybe this mass shooting is also a figment of our imagination orchestrated by Obama and company ... ?

Clinton campaign manager Podesta really believes in UFO's. Perhaps it was aliens.
One of her closest allies is Sidney Blumenthal. Perhaps it was sub-human mole people?

Douglas said...

Is this a capital case? A skilled lawyer could make the difference in a death penalty case, at least in persuading a jury to spare the defendant's life. But for guilt or innocence, I doubt that a lawyer would make much difference in this case - what's the defense here? Is there one?

mockturtle said...

Why should his life be spared???

exiledonmainstreet said...

"Dylann Roof carried out a mini genocide of his own although this was not related to Trump (I don't believe)."

Gee, that's mighty big of you.

A week after the election, a man was shot and killed in an Atlanta bar after he said he voted for Trump.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3943180/Man-shot-dead-outside-Atlanta-bar-joking-voting-Trump.html

That murder was not related to Hillary (I don't believe).

exiledonmainstreet said...

Amanda said...
He shouldn't be on death row! buy the poor kid some more Mcdonalds !

11/28/16, 8:52 PM

I don't see any conservatives arguing that he shouldn't be on death row.

So your point is - what, exactly?

exiledonmainstreet said...

I'm glad Full Moon brought up the horrible torture and murder of Newsom and Christian, since Unknown and Amanda and Steve Uhr probably never heard of it. I doubt MSNBC and CNN devoted much air time to it. The victims were white and the murderers were black and so it doesn't qualify as a "hate crime" or as worthy of the attention of good little progressive sheep.

Trumpit said...

exiledonmainstreet,

I learned decades ago not to get into a pissing contest with a skunk.
I learned this campaign season not to argue politics with rabid Trump skunks. You got your rabid skunk in office and we all will suffer greatly because of it. That is until he is impeached & removed from office for high crimes and misdemeanors.

Michael McClain said...

Rarely is anyone more properly qualified for the death penalty.

Steve Uhr said...

Roof will not soon be, but the Pack is still alive.

Zach said...

Are they going to let him do that? Competent to stand trial is one thing. Competent to defend himself is another.

Very few people are capable of defending themselves in a criminal case. If Clarence Darrow can't do it, you can't do it, either.

Zach said...

Is it automatically true that a defendant who is competent to stand trial is deemed competent to defend himself? It seems like you hear about a lot of death penalty cases with severely retarded defendants.

You wish that the court would order him to, say, complete the section of the bar exam relating to rules of evidence before accepting his decision. He's obviously guilty, but even guilty people deserve competent lawyers.

mikee said...

I was a juror on a trial in Baltimore for drug sales, and the defendant represented himself. The judge was amazingly polite and tolerant of the bumbling efforts of the defendant, and the trial took 3 days. After receiving our verdict (not just guilty, but Len Bias guilty!) the judge said if we had any questions to see him in chambers. Three of us went and asked about the odd behavior of the defendant at trial.

The judge explained that the coke distributor was already serving 30 years without parole in state prison, and the separate city charges and trial were likely the last time that fellow would be out of lockup until he died. And that was why he'd been so kind to him.

Of such kindness is our justice system composed.

exiledonmainstreet said...

So you really have nothing to say, Trumpit. Nothing to offer but venom and tears.

Fine by me, I'm enjoying the left's whining immensely.

Trumpit said...

"Of such kindness is our justice system composed."

That is a ridiculous statement in general and based on the case you give as an example. Thirty years without parole is hardly an act of kindness for selling drugs. Alcohol is a drug, and it kills daily and is legal. You were a biased juror, obviously.

mikee said...

Biased juror? Oddly enough, yes. All of us were. Without speaking a single word all of us jurors, after three days of bickering and testimony, decided to say nothing about being quite literally biased. I mentioned Len Bias, Univ of Maryland college basketball star who died of a coke overdose two days after being drafted by the Celtics, because (1) the trial was in Baltimore and (2) as we jurors entered the jury room for deliberation, there was a pile of Sports Illustrated magazines on a side table. The top magazine had "Len Bias - Death of a Dream" as the cover. We all saw it, we all independently decided to ignore it and finish up the trial instead of telling the judge.

As a juror I convicted the poor sap of selling multiple kilos of cocaine in several separate sales to the undercover FBI agent who testified at our Bawlmer trial, because there was audio recording of him doing so, but I was not on the other jury that got him sentenced to 30 years in another jurisdiction for yet other cocaine sales. The city trial had three charges, each carrying a mandatory 10 year sentence, but hey, maybe our judge at later sentencing let him do them concurrently (after the other 30 year stretch). Out of kindness, I'd hope so.