Law scholar: Ciboros face uphill climb in representing themselves

As Timothy and Esten Ciboro continue to defend themselves at their trial for allegedly raping and holding a 13-year old female family member captive in north Toledo, legal scholars say proceeding without criminal defense attorneys represents a great deal of challenges.

It is a case that legal experts suggest would be difficult for experienced attorneys, let alone for a defendant or defendants without any legal experience.

"Our court system is very complex and our system of criminal justice is complex so lawyers have always been deemed a necessity," says Greg Gilchrist, an associate professor of law at the University of Toledo.

He says the nature of the charges don't necessarily make the challenges associated with defending one's self any greater but he does say the risk is heightened.

"What you're introducing is the complexity of facts and the incredibly serious consequences that go along with a conviction for these particular charges and so representing yourself in a case like this is all the more dangerous. The stakes are higher here."

Much of the pretrial proceedings were headlined by judge Linda Jennings carefully warning the two men of the risks associated with defending themselves.

Gilchrist says in cases like this, the judge is often the one with the most difficult job.

"It's her court room and she sees her role as being able to provide a fair trial here."

Without speaking directly about the facts of the Ciboro case, Gilchrist adds that history suggests an uphill climb awaits the two men.

"From my experience, the defendant will typically lose or fare poorly."

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