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A Man Who Represents Himself Has a Fool for a Client

By Andrew Mishlove on December 06, 2011


An interesting court of appeals decision today came out of Ohio, where the defendant who represented himself made three blunders that caused him to be convicted of a DUI. He was arrested for DUI while on a bicycle.

Now, in some states it is sufficient for a DUI to be on a “vehicle,” which may include a bicycle. Other states, such as Wisconsin, normally require it to be a “motor vehicle.” This fellow got his legal advice from his friends, family, the police and maybe the judge; and, he plead guilty. Only later, he learned that in Ohio, drunken bicycling is not a DUI. So, naturally, he made a motion to reconsider his case, still representing himself.

The second blunder was that he missed the time limit for filing the motion to reconsider. In order to get around the time limit, he filed a motion alleging ineffective assistance of counsel. In effect, he attacked his representation of himself. That, of course, is not allowed either.

So, the fellow’s client wound up with a DUI on his record solely because of the bad representation that he received from himself.

On the other hand, think of the money that he saved in legal fees.

The case is Olmstead Falls v. Buckwald. Thanks to my Illinois colleague and fellow NCDD Regent, Don Ramsell, for bringing this to my attention.

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