- Page Pate: Recent Georgia case shows that a death sentence for Dylann Roof may not be a given
- Representing himself makes it likelier the jury will see Roof as a person worthy of empathy, he says
Page Pate is a criminal defense and constitutional lawyer based in Atlanta. He is an adjunct professor of law at the University of Georgia, a founding member of the Georgia Innocence Project, a former board member of the Federal Defender Program in Atlanta, and former chairman of the criminal law section of the Atlanta Bar Association. Follow him on Twitter @pagepate. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.
(CNN)When Dylann Roof appears in federal court on Tuesday for the penalty phase of his trial, he will be representing himself as his court-appointed lawyers stand by and watch. I'm sure Roof's decision to represent himself was applauded by those who believe Roof deserves to die for killing nine innocent people while they worshiped at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. Common sense suggests that a defendant who represents himself in a serious criminal case, especially a death penalty case, becomes a much easier target for the prosecution.