Fool For A Client: South Carolina Rapist Insists on Representing Himself And Secures A Life Plus 20 Year Sentence

8ebaa54c-366a-4112-a3e8-bc1c4a222a4b-large16x9_nathanmartinezIn Columbia, South Carolina, Nathan Martinez, 37, fulfills the stereotype of a man who represents himself and has a fool for a client. Martinez was accused of a myriad of crimes, including rape, burglary, and kidnapping. He insisted on representing himself and secure convictions on all counts and a sentence of life in prison plus 30 years.

In March 2014, Martinez broke into a Forest Acres home and locked a woman’s children into a bathroom.  He then raped a mother at gunpoint store her cash, her debit card and jewelry, including her husband’s wedding band.


What is interesting is that Martinez could have made a case for a mental disability and stated an intention to due so.  He told the court that he had been implanted with microchips by police in Utah.  The worse way of advancing such a claim is to represent yourself.  Even a subpar performance can shatter any notion of a serious mental disability for a jury.  Yet, Martinez tried to play both a lawyer and a mentally deranged person at the same time. He fired five publicly appointed lawyers before being allowed to represent himself.  The result was predictable (after an unexplained mistrial).

Notably, a forensic psychologist testified that Martinez has an antisocial personality disorder, but he also said that he felt that Martinez was feigning some symptoms of insanity.  The standard for insanity has been narrowed to an unfortunate degree in many states.

The jury could have found Martinez guilty but mentally ill, not guilty by reason of insanity or not guilty. The jury found him guilty of all charges.


21 thoughts on “Fool For A Client: South Carolina Rapist Insists on Representing Himself And Secures A Life Plus 20 Year Sentence”

  1. I think that America needs “an eye for an eye” justice in sentencing. A rapist should have his thing cut off in public and the event video taped and played on nightly news at Ten. Six p.m. is too early whereas kids are supposed to be in bed by ten. The song: My Ding A Ling by Chuck Berry should be sung by the crowd watching the ceremony. Another punishment for a rapist is to have him gang raped in prison in his rear end by the other misfits. Death is probably appropriate in some rape cases. Like rape of a juvenile or child. Time in jail is not bad enough for these astards.

  2. Oh my God, those poor kids, and their poor Mom.

    So glad this guy is off the street for a while. It’s sad that the parole system makes it necessary to impose greater than life sentences just to ensure he stays in jail for a time.

    FFS – you’re kidding. He made her relive it on the stand just to show her he could still control her and inflict suffering? That’s the grim part of sexual assault victims. I know the assistant DA for sex crimes, and he said they use therapy dogs for the kids when they testify. Defense attorneys are still allowed to traumatize them on the stand.

  3. Reading the story is heartbreaking. He was basically allowed to rape her all over again by forcing her to retell every single step of the original rape on the stand.

  4. I don’t know how anyone can make an informed opinion on the sentence in this, or any case, w/o knowing the prior record of the defendant. One can surmise he got popped in Utah. I’m making an educated guess that he has prior, violent felony convictions. But, that’s just a guess. I could run a background check but that would cost me money and I don’t care enough, since he is a fool and a sh!tbird.

  5. The sentence is draconian, but it’s difficult to believe his pro se tap dance was the cause of that. South Carolina’s penal code has such provisions.

  6. I do not quite understand the sentence after he dies in prison where does he do the next 20 years? Hell is likely but do they have a lock up in Hell? If he goes to Heaven do they have a prison in Heaven? Florissant, Missouri has a city jail. Florissant is known as the place you are sent to if you do not get Heaven or Hell. Florissant is right next to Ferguson.

  7. It seems he was never going to settle on a strategy with his LA attorneys, so he might as well defend himself. However, I am sure the jury took that into account. If he is sane enough to defend himself, isn’t he sane enough to do the crimes?

    1. Paul, sometimes even the best defense strategy by an attorney pro se won’t work when the deck is stacked against the defendant, as the following case makes clear:

  8. A side point here is that there is woefully little options for mental health. Most of the people that need it most likely can’t afford it, and combining that with the stigma of reaching out for treatment and admitting to yourself that you have a dangerous problem. Watching that unfold first hand while growing up, I was very lucky a few instances that happened during childhood didn’t turn out to be totally tragic. In addition, mental illness scars for successive generations as well. It would be nice to hear from Karen on this. I also feel all combat veterans deserve quick access to mental health support. I am not for big government, but as a society we owe these folks this care.

    1. There is no such thing as ‘mental health’.

      People with disorders severe enough that they can trigger the M’Naghten rule need to be in custodial care or they need the supervision of relatives conjoined to a physician who can monitor them and write prescriptions for anti-psychotic drugs. What they don’t need is psychotherapy from Dr. Rent-a-Friend. See Fuller Torrey on this point: psychotherapy is damaging to schizophrenics and GPs with an interest in schizophrenia can in some circumstances be a better caregiver than psychiatrists. Medicaid pays for thioridizine.

      1. Point taken, but a lot of schizophrenics go undiagnosed and untreated out of cost. Observation, not a solution. It’s a vicious cycle for them.

  9. My assumption until I read the article was that he could have been railroaded! The courts have their process and assumptions and unless the lay person understands the “game” he/she will lose.

  10. There was nothing wrong with representing himself. He simply had the wrong strategy. All he had to do to successfully plead his case was to argue that his brain was hacked by Russia and that the CIA has definitive proof of this, as documented by the New York Times’s special investigation conducted by Jayson Blair, who has recently returned to the Times to continue the Time’s distinguished record of journalistic excellence. To further bolster his case, he should have also argued that he had no intention of committing any of the crimes he has been accused of, as certified by none other than FBI Director James Comey, who is the world’s leading authority on scienter.

      1. “Yet, Martinez tried to play both a lawyer and a mentally deranged person at the same time.”

        Oh come on! This line was out there just waiting for a punchline. 😉

  11. Narrowing of insality rule unfortunate???
    Back in college, we learned about the M’Naghten rule. What happened to that?
    My guess is: MONEY.

    1. The M’Naghten rule is the only proper rule to use in assessing a defendant for a dispensation.

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