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http://ssrn.com/abstract=1571157
 
 

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Representational Competence: Defining the Limits of the Right to Self-Representation at Trial


E. Lea Johnston


University of Florida - Fredric G. Levin College of Law

March 15, 2010

Notre Dame Law Review, Vol. 86, 2010
University of Florida Levin College of Law Research Paper No. 2010-08

Abstract:     
In 2008, the Supreme Court held that the Sixth Amendment permits a trial court to impose a higher competency standard for self-representation than to stand trial. The Court declined to delineate a permissible representational competence standard but indicated that findings of incompetence based on a lack of decisionmaking ability would withstand constitutional scrutiny. To date, no court or commentator has suggested a comprehensive competency standard to address the particular decisional context of self-representation at trial. Conceptualizing self-representation as an exercise in problem solving, this Article draws upon social problem-solving theory to identify abilities necessary for autonomous decisionmaking. The Article develops and applies a normative theory of representational competence to evaluate particular problem-solving abilities in light of competing norms of self-representation. It concludes by proposing a representational competence standard.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 74

Keywords: self-representation, Sixth Amendment, competence, problem solving

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Date posted: March 25, 2010 ; Last revised: June 9, 2011

Suggested Citation

Johnston, E. Lea, Representational Competence: Defining the Limits of the Right to Self-Representation at Trial (March 15, 2010). Notre Dame Law Review, Vol. 86, 2010; University of Florida Levin College of Law Research Paper No. 2010-08. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1571157

Contact Information

E. Lea Johnston (Contact Author)
University of Florida - Fredric G. Levin College of Law ( email )
P.O. Box 117625
Gainesville, FL 32611-7625
United States
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