In 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.