Campus News

The right to defend

The Daily Report quoted Erica J. Hashimoto, assistant professor of law, in an article about U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s request for more data on the right of criminal defendants to represent themselves on appeal.

“I think at the very least it calls into question our assumption that it’s necessarily a bad idea for a defendant to represent himself or herself,” said Hashimoto, who teaches criminal law, evidence and sentencing.

“It makes me very uncomfortable on the one hand to say we’re going to find you competent to stand trial, but we’re going to say you don’t get constitutional rights—because the right of self representation is a constitutional right,” she also said. “At the same time, courts get put in very uncomfortable situations, and it does feel like it’s very unfair to a mentally ill defendant to watch him represent himself or herself. And you can just see the train wreck about to happen.”