from JK on Facebook: Star Chambers mean no representation and self representation was banned

From James Kelly

A quote from In Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806, 821 – 23 (1975). The Supreme Court:

“ In the long history of the British jurisprudence there was only one tribunal that ever adopted a practice of forcing counsel upon an unwilling defendant in a criminal proceeding. The tribunal was the Star Chamber, that curious institution which flourished in the late 16th and 17th centuries, was of mixed executive and judicial character, and characteristically departed from common law traditions. For those reasons and because it specialized in trying “political” defenses, the Star Chamber has for centuries symbolized disregard for basic, individual rights. The Star Chamber not merely allowed, but required defendants to have counsel. The defendants answer to an indictment was not accepted unless it was signed by counsel. When counsel refused to sign the answer, for whatever reason, the defendant was considered to have confessed (See, J.Stephen, “A history of the criminal law in England”, 341-42 (1883) As Stephen commented on this procedure, “There is something especially repugnant to justice in using rules of practice in such a manner as to debar a prisoner from defending himself, especially when the object of the rules so used is to provide for his defense” (end quote)

and now rewritten:

“ In the long history of the American jurisprudence there was only one tribunal that ever adopted a practice of forcing counsel upon an unwilling person in a quasi-criminal proceeding. The tribunal was the Family Courts, that curious institution which flourished in the 20th and 21st centuries, was of mixed executive and judicial character, and characteristically departed from common law traditions. For those reasons and because it specialized in trying “psychological” defenses, the Family Courts have for decades symbolized disregard for basic, individual rights of children. The Family Courts not merely allowed, but required children to have counsel. The children’s answer to a motion was not accepted unless it was signed by counsel. When counsel refused to sign the answer, for whatever reason, the child was considered to have supported it (See, the millions of families that have gone through the process of a custody proceeding. As they regularly comment on this procedure, “There is something especially repugnant to justice in using rules of practice in such a manner as to debar a child from their Constitutionally protected rights, especially when the object of the rules so used is to provide for the child’s best interests” (end quote).

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