Boston Rape Suspect Represents Himself in Court

A Cambridge man is representing himself in court, in connection with the alleged sexual assault of two women in their Allston apartment in September 2008.

The 36-year-old man cross-examined police officers in the Suffolk County Superior Court in Boston this morning. He already cross-examined the two female victims in the case. According to a reporter at the courthouse, his particular defense strategy seemed unclear, but he was trying to convince the jury of his innocence.

The defendant was linked to the two rapes based on DNA evidence found at another crime scene, the 2010 sexual assault of a 10-year-old boy and attempted murder of the boy’s father, who was nearly decapitated as he tried to defend his son in their home. The defendant was tried and found guilty in this other case, sentenced in the Middlesex Superior Court to up to 85 years in prison for: two counts of home invasion, two counts of aggravated rape of a child with force, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on a child an armed assault with the intent to murder.

The defendant is now representing himself in the face of two rape charges; how he will fare remains to be seen.

Self-Representation in Criminal Cases

Under the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, a defendant has the right to represent himself in criminal court. The defendant must adopt this right knowingly and intelligently, however, and in some cases the judge may deny this right based on the understanding that the defendant cannot competently represent himself or because the self-representation is disruptive to court proceedings to such an extent that they cannot proceed as they should.

Self-representation is a rare occurrence, particularly when it comes to serious and violent criminal offenses like rape. Criminal defendants have the right to legal counsel even if they cannot afford it, in which case it will be provided by the government. Public defenders are salaried government employees who are paid to represent those who cannot afford legal counsel on their own.

Of course every case is different, and it is impossible to say what approach would be best for a particular defendant, but representing oneself in the face of criminal charges is almost never a good idea. The potential consequences of a criminal conviction are far-reaching and may include jail or prison time, fines, court fees, license suspension, sex offender registration, community service, court-ordered counseling and probation. Even seemingly minor offenses can have lasting repercussions that influence one’s employment and personal relationships.

If you have been accused of a crime, have been arrested or have been criminally charged, consider your options. Involving a criminal defense lawyer will be your best opportunity at avoiding a conviction and maximum penalties. Whether you need to work with a public defender or wish to involve a private attorney, you will have a far better chance at securing a positive result with a professional to represent your interests and rights.

You can find out more about criminal cases in Massachusetts and your rights as a defendant, suspect or arrestee by contacting a Boston criminal defense attorney at Keegan Law. We have more than 40 years of experience in criminal justice, including in-depth knowledge of both sides of criminal investigations and court proceedings, allowing our team to provide more effective and aggressive counsel. Call today!