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Can the fact that a pro se defendant was told they could not speak during a trial unless they agreed to testify and be cross examined be a grounds for dismissal? I understand that there are certain rules about what a pro se can say in an opening or closing statement etc during the trial but as long as they stay within those guidelines they're supposed to be able to speak in (after all they are acting as their own lawyer - how can you defend yourself if you can't speak at all?) I wasn't allowed an opening or closing statement, to submit any evidence etc. The only way I could talk was if I would agree to give up my 5th amendment rights. Can I ask for a dismissal based on this? Also, is there a way to get the motion for dismissal heard before the sentencing date? Thanks
I'm really not sure of the details but in most instances, unless what you were going to say might have changed the outcome of the case, it will likely not be upheld. If there was danger that you would not stay within the guidelines, perhaps the judge used his discretion properly -- I don't know. But the bottom line is that if you had no testimony to provide that would refute the charge that you committed some crime and there was sufficient evidence to find you guilty, I'm not sure if it would make a difference.

For example, if you possessed cocaine and you had no defense, there were pictures of you with the cocaine, does it make a difference that you didn't have an opening statement? The only difference you could make is through your testimony, under oath. Any explanation you might want to give in an opening would not be admissible unless it was given under oath as testimony on your behalf and subjected to cross examination. Otherwise it is a free shot, a self-serving statement which cannot be properly substantiated.

Thanks for the response. I appreciate your time. Do you know if there is a way to get a post trial motion heard before a sentencing date?
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