Why it's not actually in your best interest to allow a hired third party to speak for you in criminal proceedings
If you are a citizen, you have the unassailable privilege of speaking for yourself in public. Wives, in those countries and systems where the woman is property, do not have such a privilege, and consequently all their public speech must be conducted through the agency of their owner, generally a husband, father, whatever. Children, in those countries and systems where children are propertyi, do not have such a priviledge, and so all their public speech must be conducted through the agency of their owner, generally the parent(s)ii.
That privilege means a few things. To many it means first and foremost voting : you vote for yourself, you can't delegate votes and so forth. To the few that are sensible, it means first and foremost representation in court. (I'm deliberately leaving money out of this, arguably even more important a thing, because I'd like to finish the article before New Year's).
Sure, voting would be a more frequent occurence, seeing how it happens yearly nowadays. It's also a triviality : the actual value of your vote to your own affairs is negligible, which is why graft and corruption are such problems ever since time immemorial. Buying voters is the simplest, cheapest and most effective electoral strategy there isiii, so obviously it's not ever going away. Representation in court may be rarer (in fact, most people can reasonably expect to live out their entire lives without ever having to defend themselves in court) but it is so very much more important that no comparison can possibly stand.
The problem with allowing a third party to infect this fundamental right of self representation in the courts is two fold. Firstly, and quite importantly, is that third parties need to be paid. Because of this little loophole increasingly many innocent people find themselves caught in a nasty trap : plenty of slanted legislation allows either the outright confiscation or (much more frequently) the locking down of one's property. This means you won't be able to pay, and you suddenly find yourself, in the immortal words of "that guy in the Matrix", without a voice.
That may all sound pretty bad, but it's not the worst. The worst is that a third party can not be trusted, and this is indeed quite the problem. Let's start at one edge of it : Jack Marshall does a pretty good job of succintly presenting the age old problem of the Lying Defendant.
When the lawyer does know, the accepted options are few. First of all, the attorney is required to explain in the most emphatic terms how risky and stupid lying on the stand is. This includes telling the client one of the two “remedies” lawyers with lying criminal clients have to follow, depending on the jurisdiction. The first is telling the judge that the lawyer has to withdraw from the representation, without saying why because saying why would violate the attorney-client privilege. This, of course, has the result of letting the judge know that 1) the defendant will be lying, and that this means that 2) he’s guilty, and thus the “solution” violates the lawyer’s duty of confidentiality anyway. The other option, favored by New York, California and Washington, D.C.iv, requires the attorney to let his or her client testify in narrative fashion, asking the defendant to tell his (fictional, perjurious) story without the assistance of questions, prodding or framing by the attorney. Then the attorney cannot use the defendant’s lies in the closing argument. Since attorneys only behave like this when their criminal defendant clients insist on lying under oath, this “solution,” like the first, also has the effect of alerting everyone that defendant is guilty of both the crime being tried and perjury.
So basically, if you hire someone to make closing arguments for you, that someone will tell on you if they think you've done it. This builds the corresponding implication that if they don't tell on you they don't believe you've done it. Obviously some will afford to pay a lawyer enough to make it worth his while to lie (or however you'd call it), which has the necessary effect of raising average prices, which then institutes an inflationary circle of payjacking across the board. Obviously some lawyers will get paid enough to become able to buy their way out of the "don't lie" requirement - even if they don't buy it with money but with "respectability" or whatever other such soft currency - which then will breed a circle of corruption going through politics to reach judges.
You want to understand where exactly the engine of modern day corruption lies ? Why, it's buried right here : hiring third parties to represent you in criminal proceedings. A responsible citizen will hire counsel exclusively in the job of a paralegal : send them to do the legwork for you, make them do the research, make them prepare arguments, proofread filings, do all the little jobs and dirty work servants are made for. A responsible citizen will never allow the libertus (which is what lawyers were to start with) to speak for him in the forum (which is where the courts started). Lawyers are not there to decide case strategy for you, that's your job. Lawyers are not there to speak to the court, that's your job. Lawyers are there to carry your briefcase, put the paper in, shine your shoes.
Obviously, all this is hard. Speaking in court, hell, screaming at the judge if the judge is being uppity ? You can barely work up the courage to talk to your dorky coworkers. Knowing what to have these people research ? You can barely read.
Well... here's the bad news. The mousy are not citizens. The illiterate are not citizens. Freedom starts with taking control, and as a point of fact if you couldn't defend yourself in any criminal proceeding whatsoever right now, you're already in prison.
You're already in prison, you just don't know it yet. Or don't you ?———
- O, wait, we had no idea aforehand that majority rules also relegate these subject to them to the status of a chattel, rather than citizenship ? Heh. [↩]
- Although the imposition of the State rather than parents as owner of children is becoming more and more fashionable, at least on the silly side of the Atlantic. [↩]
- Recently worked marvels for Obama, the least competent US President since at least Dan Quayle and the one US President with the worst record in recorded history. [↩]
- Which would be the courts that see the most practice. [↩]