[Deathpenalty]death penalty news --- CALIF.
j_sommer at gmx.net
Fri Jul 9 15:08:44 CDT 2004
death penalty news
July 9, 2004
Scanlan seeks self-represention in death penalty trial
Confessed killer Seti Scanlan wants to act as his own attorney when his
second death-penalty trial begins in September.
The outspoken, unpredictable 26-year-old tried to fire his lawyers during
his first trial, but Judge Robert Foiles denied his request.
Scanlan stands a much better chance of representing himself the second time
"He has the right to defend himself, and, unless there's a change in mental
state, he can," said Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, who is
prosecuting the case.
Scanlan pleaded guilty to murder and a host of other violent felonies, and
his trial was held solely to determine whether he should spend the rest of
his life in prison or get the death penalty. Scanlan says he wants to die
to atone for killing bank manager Alice Martel in a 2002 robbery.
But after deliberating for days, three jurors held out against nine that
wanted to send him to death row, prompting the judge to declare a mistrial.
During that trial, Scanlan said he wanted to act as his own attorney to
speed things up and to spare his family the sorrow of having to testify.
But the judge said it was too late in the game for Scanlan to dismiss his
The state's Supreme Court briefly halted the case, but then allowed Foiles'
decision to stand.
This time around, Scanlan has made his request while the judge is still
scheduling the second trial.
"He can do what he wants," said Cliff Cretan, one of two attorneys who
stood by Scanlan during the rollercoaster ride of his first trial.
Asked whether he would miss participating in the high-profile case, Cretan
said, "I have mixed feelings. This is not something that's fun."
"We get along very well," Cretan said. "His only problem with us is that we
want to do this the proper way. If there has to be a trial, we want it to
be a proper one."
Foiles is scheduled to rule on Scanlan's request Tuesday at
Since Scanlan has been deemed mentally competent to stand trial, it could
be difficult for Foiles to deny him the constitutional right to
self-representation in a criminal trial.
But Foiles could reject the request on the grounds that Scanlan, acting as
his own lawyer, would likely disrupt or unduly delay the trial. During his
first trial, Scanlan was tackled by deputies when he tried to hug his
girlfriend, and cussed out bailiffs and the district attorney.
Though he is mostly cooperative on the stand, he can be unpredictable
behind the scenes.
How much weight the judge gives to that will likely determine his ruling.
(source: San Mateo County Times)
More information about the DeathPenalty