Is it common, if you defend yourself in a case, the Judge will not permit me to speak with the D.A.? Only by email.

DETAILS

What would be the motivation for the Judge to obstruct common communications? Finally, do I have any precedence of a judge not permitting a person defending themselves not to speak to a D.A?

Finally, my guess, is the judge may be angry at me, because the rating for him from websites is very bad. I attempted to have him removed.

Thank you.

ANSWER

First, it is never advisable to defend yourself in a criminal matter. Any criminal matter is potentially life changing – because of the punishment involved, the fact that your drivers license could be impacted, or your record tarnished for life. The collateral consequences of a criminal conviction can follow you for life – preventing you from getting a job, obtaining an apartment, getting government loans, having an effect on child custody… to name a few.

It is always best to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who has handled your kind of case in the past. In some very limited small matters, like traffic, a lay person could probably defend themselves without a problem.

However, your question seems to indicate that you are dealing with a more serious charge than a traffic ticket because judges typically don’t get involved in negotiations in traffic court.

As an aside, no judge ever likes it when people defend themselves. It makes their job a lot harder because the lay person does not have any formal training about the rules of the court or evidence and the judge often has to step in to provide legal instruction. This never plays out well in front of a jury. In 4 years practicing in the same jurisdiction, I have NEVER seen a pro se defendant win their case. Ever. One judge always said, “You wouldn’t perform heart surgery on yourself would you?, So why do you think you can handle this serious criminal matter on your own?” It really made people stop and think.

Also, note that I do not practice in Florida and I am not advocating that you hire me. 🙂 This is just some information I think you could use.

But, if you decide to continue defending yourself, the judge should not prevent you from communicating with the DA. You should be able to call, make an appointment with, or write to the D.A. There is case law which clearly states that a judge should not get involved in plea negotiations. Again, this is where it would be helpful to have a Florida attorney on your side so that the attorney can research the case law, if necessary.

Finally, don’t believe everything you read on the internet. 🙂 What you read on the internet about a judge will most likely not be grounds for the judge’s removal on your case because it is hearsay. You would have more of a chance of making a case for removal by documenting what the judge has done in your case — such as obstructing your ability to plea bargain — because you have personal knowledge about the judge’s conduct in this situation.