Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals clarifies how people representing themselves will be treated in their court. I’m Tulsa Attorney James Wirth and that is the topic that we have. We have a case where a person had some traffic tickets in the city of Tulsa it looks like. They appealed those to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals representing themselves. And then they had some questions about the procedure and they got an opinion from the court related to that clarifies how Oklahoma courts treat people who are representing themselves, pro se litigates.
So the case is actually M-2023-356, Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. And the appellant, in that case, had filed a motion for clarification with the clerk inquiring whether the pauper’s affidavit that he filed in the court would cover transmissions of the appellate record. That was the question that he put in, but he put it in as a motion for clarification to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals. And this is the response.
Regarding the appellant’s question, this court does not issue advisory opinions. In electing to represent himself, the appellant has assumed the full responsibility of acting as his own attorney in this matter and will be held to the same standard as a licensed attorney. So although they’re stating it very briefly and kind of strictly here in this opinion from the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, that is the law of the land and the state of Oklahoma. If you choose to represent yourself, you will be held by the court by law to the same standards as an attorney.
Representation by Oneself Carries the Same Responsibilities as a Licensed Attorney
There’s an expression out there that a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client. And that is even applying to a lawyer. That’s applying to a person who has the education, training, and experience to know how to represent people in court. But even in those circumstances, the expression suggests that because they don’t have an outsider’s perspective and may be too close to the issues, even a lawyer should not represent himself in court. And that goes doubly, triply, quadruply perhaps for someone who does not have the training, experience, and education.
And the court is not gonna help you with that. They are going to expect you to know the procedures and the law just as they expect that of an attorney before the court. So it can be a tough treatment for pro se litigates. So you’re probably gonna want some help.
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