Mistrial declared after man representing himself on attempted murder charge decides he wants a Jacksonville criminal lawyer

Halfway through his own Jacksonville criminal trial where he is accused of attempted murder and facing up to life in prison, a Jacksonville violent crimes suspect changed his mind and opted for a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney. Because of the defendant’s change of heart, the judge said he had no choice but to end the trial and start over with a new jury and an appointed Duval County Criminal Attorney representing Delvin Thomas Jones, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. The trial had progressed to the point where Jones had cross-examined the man he was accused of shooting in the face, who told the court that Jones was the man who shot him. Shortly after that testimony, Jones told the court he wanted to be represented by a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney. An appointed criminal attorney had been on standby for the case, but the judge ruled the case was far enough down the road, the only alternative was to start over, the newspaper reported.

Prosecutors said they were disappointed the victim would have to testify again but, ultimately, the judge would have likely faced serious scrutiny from an appellate court if he didn’t grant the defendant’s request for a lawyer and begin a new trial. While there are countless television shows and movies that make a trial look like a simple operation that’s opened and closed in an hour that is not the case. There are countless legal rules and procedures that must be followed to ensure a fair trial for both sides and someone without legal training is nearly guaranteed to miss – despite their best intentions. Most people wouldn’t attempt a life-saving heart surgery on their own and, while it may seem like a stretch, representing yourself on a Jacksonville criminal charge where you face life in prison is a similar proposition. The trial is your one shot at not spending a significant time, most likely the rest of your life, in prison. Is that something you’d prefer to handle on your own, or put in the hands of someone who has represented thousands of clients in our criminal justice system?

A Jacksonville Criminal Trial Attorney has relationships with prosecutors and attorneys, knows who is likely to go to trial and who is more likely to want to work out a case, all things that can be critical to ensuring the best possible result that someone representing themselves would not be aware of. Granted, some people do represent themselves and are successful, but the examples are few and far between.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Jacksonville Criminal Trial Lawyer, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.