Judge Allows Dylan Roof to Represent Himself in Trial
Jury selection began on Monday morning.
On Friday, U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel found Dylan Roof competent to stand trial for the murder of nine black people at a church in Charleston, S.C., last summer.
Today, the judge has decided that Roof can represent himself in his trial:
Roof made the last-minute request as jury selection was set to begin this morning. U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel cautioned Roof against serving as his own attorney, noting his defense team’s considerable legal expertise, but ultimately granted the request. He noted that Roof has a constitutional right to represent himself.
“I do find defendant has the personal capacity to self-representation,” Gergel said. “I continue to believe it is strategically unwise, but it is a decision you have the right to make.”
Roof, garbed in a striped grey-and-white jail uniform, answered the judge’s questions with “yes, sir” in a quiet, raspy voice. After Gergel’s ruling, he smiled slightly as he returned to his defense table. He then sat in the front-and-center seat as his lead lawyer, renowned capital defense attorney David Bruck, scooted over. Roof told the judge that he wanted his attorneys, who will act as “stand-by counsel” now, to sit at the table with him.
The jury selection began on Monday morning.
In June 2015, Roof opened fire at the historic Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, murdering nine black people during a meeting. Roof faces numerous charges:
Roof faces 33 federal charges: nine counts of violating the Hate Crime Act resulting in death; three counts of violating the Hate Crime Act involving an attempt to kill; nine counts of obstruction of exercise of religion resulting in death; three counts of obstruction of exercise of religion involving an attempt to kill and use of a dangerous weapon; nine counts of use of a firearm to commit murder during and in relation to a crime of violence.
Roof also faces nine counts of murder and other charges in the state court system. His trial in that case is scheduled to start in January.
He tried to plead guilty last week “in exchange for a life sentence, but prosecutors refused the deal.” He could receive the death penalty if found guilty.
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Auto play should be banned from the internet.
I stopped visiting TownHall.com because every one of their columns had an auto-play video ad at the bottom. It got to be too much to scroll down and stop it so the rest of the page could load — on Every. Single. Page.
Because I believe in fairness, I let them know in comments why I was dissatisfied with their site. But they didn’t change it.
And why is it that when I pause this one to get it to quit playing in the background, it starts up again on its own a few minutes later!?
Yeah, I’ve been to a couple sites recently that will auto-play the video, with the sound muted. This still doesn’t help those on slower or gated connections, but it’s better than what we have here.
Video started when I opened this post, restarted when I logged in to upvote rabidfox, and restarted *again* when commenting. And it will load again when I submit this comment.
Kill the damned autoplay!
Get him a fair trial, get him convicted and sentenced. Justice be done.
And do NOT allow an appeal due to the fact the defense was incompetent.
You do not get that option when you defend yourself. Hence the warning from the Judge.
He will get an appeal regardless (you get that as a matter of right and if the death sentence is imposed he will get an appeal for that).
He will also get the attention – via the press coverage – he so badly craves.
I doubt any appeal will change any outcomes (other than perhaps on the death penalty, if the court orders it).
hes looking towards the appeal, bet this (self represent) was not his idea.
Well, even more good news in regards to this case after he was found competent to stand trial! No way he’s beating the prosecution on his own unless he’s some kind of secret prodigy on the law!
It’s a tactic, and it could pan out well for him.
Imagine what fireworks will happen in the courtroom, when the defense gets to cross-examine the prosecutors’ witnesses, and Dylan Roof himself is firing off the questions.
I believe it will be somewhat analogous to a rape trial. It’s well known that most such assaults go unreported because the victim doesn’t wish to face her attacker in court; it’s understandably painful. How much more painful would it be if it was the attacker, personally, asking pointed questions on cross-examination, instead of a third-party attorney?
“It’s a tactic, and it could pan out well for him.”
Or it could blow up in his face as any prosecutor worth his or her salt will be well aware of this and be busy prepping their witnesses for just such a confrontation if it comes about. With such a high profile case as this there is no way that the state is going to be appointing some back bencher to prosecute Roof, he’ll be up against one of their best backed by the full support of the DA’s office. Let’s also not forget that it is not just witnesses that decide cases, there is also the actual evidence that he’ll have to challenge and argue against. That is something he won’t be able to shut down or intimidate into silence in the courtroom. Evidence carries far more weight in the courtroom than witness testimony and Roof is no attorney skilled in either getting evidence dismissed or using it to his favor. That will be the area where the prosecution really cleans his clock. Roof is taking a huge gamble representing himself and it’s one I’m pretty confident he’s going to lose.
Try, convict, electrify.
Try, convict, ventilate.
What can I say, I’m old-school on some things. An eye for an eye in this case.
I volunteer to pull the switch, push the button or pull the trigger when he’s found guilty. Scumbag.
What should happen is that this monster should get a fair trial and then be sentenced to death. Unlike the killer at Ft. Hood, Major Hassan, who is still battling his terror spree with US government help.
The only thing missing from this mess is the words “Hate Crime”. Of all the stupid additions to a murder, this takes the cake. Do the dead know that Roof hated them? Most of these people were shot from behind so they never saw or felt any hate from this monster. Maybe, like Jeffery Dahmer, this monster will find his end in prison while waiting for an appeal. If there is a God, this will happen.
If Hassan was Muslim they woulda killed him. Just like they woulda killed Colin Ferguson if he’d been black.
It’s not about what the dead know. The living know, and are afraid. When a crime is committed against a member of a larger set of people, motivated by hatred against the entire set, it constitutes a threat against every member, and thus harms them all.
This is the difference between painting ones tag on a Jewish home and painting a swastika there. The first is simple vandalism and deserves a light punishment; repair the damage and apologise, and don’t do it again. But the second sends fear through a whole community, including survivors who can be severely traumatised, and is intended to do so, and thus needs to be punished more severely.
This was also Justice Thomas’s point in upholding Virginia’s law against burning a cross on someone else’s property or on public property. Cross burning is not just an expression of opinion, it’s an act of deliberate intimidation. It’s literally terrorism. Its sole purpose is to strike fear in the heart of every black person who hears about it. And that’s why it’s not protected speech.
It’ll be like the Long Island shooter Colin Ferguson’s trial. In reverse.
They should just skip the federal trial, let the state convict him and sentence him to death.
They can’t do that. The Feds are out to prove that S. Carolina is too racist to sufficiently punish Roof.
I guess he is going to try to use the trial to soap box , I mean he’s gonna get 9 death sentences so he figures why not go out blazing .
It’s real simple.
“The Man Who Represents Himself Has a Fool For a Client”!