List of U.S. state constitutional provisions allowing self-representation in state courts

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Most U.S. states have a constitutional, statutory, judicial code, or court decision provision either expressly or by interpretation allowing self-representation in state courts.[1]

State Provision Language
Alabama Const. Art 1 § 10 "That no person shall be barred from prosecuting or defending before any tribunal in this state, by himself or counsel, any civil cause to which he is a party."[1]
Alabama Alabama Canons of Judicial Ethics Canon III a 4 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, the right to be heard according to law"[2]
Alaska Stat § 22.20.040 (1996) "An action or proceeding may be prosecuted or defended by a party in person or by an attorney..."[1]
Arizona Const. art II § 11 "Justice in all cases shall be administered openly..."[1]
Arizona Arizona Code of Judicial Conduct Canon III a 7 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, the right to be heard according to law." [3]
Arkansas Const. Art 11 § 13 "Every person is entitled to a certain remedy in the laws for all injuries or wrongs he may receive in his person, property or character; he ought to obtain justice freely, and without purchase, completely, and without denial, promptly and without delay, conformably to the laws.[1]
Arkansas ARKANSAS CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT Canon III a 7 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, the right to be heard according to law" [4]
California Constitution Art 1 § 3 "The people have the right to...petition government for redress of grievances"[1]
California Rules of Civil Procedure Rule Rule 1290 "Any person named as a respondent in a petition may file a response thereto[5]
California California Code of Judicial Ethics III b 7 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law.*"'[6]
California Board of Commissioners v. Younger (1865) 29 Cal. 147, 149 "A party to an action may appear in his own proper person or by attorney[7]
Colorado Constitution Art 2 § 6 "Courts of justice shall be open to every person, and a speedy remedy afforded for every injury to person, property or character, and right and justice should be administered without sale, denial or delay"[1]
Colorado Supreme Court Tassian v. People, 731 P.2d 672 (Colo. 20 January 1987) “The chief judge's directive at issue here clearly discriminates against pro se litigants solely on the basis of their pro se status and, in that respect, lacks any rational basis in fact and thus violates equal protection of the laws”[8]
Colorado Colorado Code of Judicial Conduct Canon III a 7 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law"' [9]
Connecticut Constitution Art 1 § 10 "All courts shall be open, and every person, for an injury done to him in his person, property or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law, and right and justice administered without sale, denial or delay."[1]
Connecticut State of Connecticut Judicial Branch Frequently Asked Questions "You have a right to represent yourself in all court cases. Representing yourself is called acting pro se. Pro Se is a Latin phrase that means "for yourself." [10][11]
Connecticut Connecticut Code of Judicial Conduct Canon 3 a 4 "A judge should accord to every person who is legally interested in a proceeding, or that person’s lawyer, full right to be heard according to law" [12]
Delaware Constitution Art 1 § 9 "All courts shall be open; and every man for an injury done him in his reputation, person, moveable or immovable possessions shall have remedy by the due course of law, and justice administered according to the very right of the cause and the law of the land, without sale, denial, or unreasonable delay or expense.[1]
Delaware Delaware Judge's Code of Judicial Conduct Canon II R. 2.6(A) "A judge should accord to every person who is legally interested in a proceeding, or to the person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law" [13]
District of Columbia St A Ct Rule 47 "Nothing in these rules shall be construed to prevent any person who is without counsel from prosecuting or defending an appeal in which that person is a party."[1]
District of Columbia Code of Judicial Conduct CAnon III b 7 "A judge should accord to every person who is legally interested in a proceeding, or to the person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law,"[14]
Florida Const. Art 1 § 21 "The courts shall be open to every person for redress of any injury and justice shall be administered without sale, denial or delay"[1]
Florida Code of Judicial Conduct for the State of Florida Canon III B 7 "A judge should accord to every person who is legally interested in a proceeding, or to the person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law"[15]
Georgia Const. art 1, § 1, paragraph XII "No person shall be deprive of the right to prosecute or defend, either in person or by an attorney, that person's own cause in any of the courts of this state."[1]
Georgia Georgia Code of Judicial Conduct Canon III B 7 "A judge should accord to every person who is legally interested in a proceeding, or to the person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law,[16]
Hawaii Const. Art 1 § 4 "No law shall be enacted...abridging...the right of the people...to petition the government for a redress of grievances."[1]
Hawaii Revised Code of Judicial Conduct Canon III a 7 "A judge should accord to every person who is legally interested in a proceeding, or to the person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law"[17]
Idaho Const. art 1 § 18 "Courts of justice shall be open to every person, and a speedy remedy afforded for every injury of person, property or character, and right and justice shall be administered without sale, denial, delay or prejudice".[1]
Idaho IDAHO CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT Canon III a 7 "A judge should accord to every person who is legally interested in a proceeding, or to the person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law,[18]
Illinois Const. art 1 § 12 "Every person shall find a certain remedy in the laws for all injuries and wrongs which he receives to his person, privacy, property or reputation. He shall obtain justice by law, freely, completely, and promptly."[1]
Illinois ILLINOIS CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT Canon III a 7 [19]
Indiana Const. art 1 § 12 "All courts shall be open; and every person, for injury done to him in his person, property, or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law. Justice shall be administered freely, and without purchase; completely, and without denial; speedily, and without delay."[1]
Indiana Judicial Canon III b 8 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law."[20]
Iowa Const. art 1 § 20 "The people shall have the right to ... petition for redress of grievances."[1]
Iowa Iowa Court Rules Division II "a party specially authorized by statute may sue in that person’s own name" [21]
Kansas Const. Bill of Rights § 18 "All persons, for injuries suffered in person, reputation or property, shall have remedy by due course of law, and justice administered without delay."[1]
Kansas Kansas Code of Judicial Conduct Canon III a 7 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law."[22]
Kentucky Const. § 14 "All courts shall be open, and every person for an injury done him in his lands, goods, person or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law, and right and justice administered without sale, denial or delay."[1]
Kentucky Judicial Canon III a 7 SCR 4.300 A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law.[23]
Louisiana Const. art 1 § 22 "All courts shall be open, and every person shall have an adequate remedy by due process of law and justice, administered without denial, partiality, or unreasonable delay, for injury to him in his person, property, reputation or other rights."[1]
Louisiana Louisiana Code of Judicial Conduct Canon III a 7 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law" [24]
Maine Const. art 1 § 19 and § 20 "Every person, for an injury inflicted on the person or the person's reputation, property, or immunities, shall have a remedy by due course of law; and right and reputation shall be administered freely and without sale, completely and without denial, promptly and without delay."; "In all civil suits, and in all controversies concerning property, the parties shall have a right to trial by jury, except in cases where it has heretofore been otherwise practiced; the party claiming the right may be heard by himself or herself and with counsel..."[1]
Maine Maine Code of Judicial Conduct Canon III a 7 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law" [25]
Maryland Const. Declaration of Rights art 19 "That every man, for any injury done to him in his person or property, ought to have remedy by the course of the Law of the land, and ought to have justice and right, freely without dale, fully without any denial, and speedily without delay, according to the Law of the land."[1]
Maryland Rule 16-813 Maryland Code of Judicial Conduct Canon III a 6 a "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law" [26]
Massachusetts Const. art XI "Every subject of the commonwealth ought to find a certain remedy, by having recourse to the laws, for all injuries or wrongs which he may receive in his person, property, or character., He ought to obtain right and justice freely, and without being obliged to purchase it, completely, and without any denial; promptly, and without delay, conformably to the laws."[1]
Massachusetts CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT Code of Judicial Conduct Canon III a 4 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law"[27]
Michigan Const. Art. I § 13 Conduct of suits in person or by counsel. "A suitor in any court of this state has the right to prosecute or defend his suit, either in his own proper person or by an attorney."[1]
Minnesota Const Art 1 § 8 "Every person is entitled to a certain remedy in the laws for all injuries or wrongs which he may receive to his person. property or character, and to obtain justice freely and without purchase, completely and without denial, promptly and without delay, conformable to the laws."[1]
Minnesota Minnesota Code of Judicial Conduct Canon III a 7 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law" [28]
Mississippi Const Art III § 25 "No personal shall be debarred from prosecuting or defending any civil cause for or against himself, before any tribunal in the state, by him or himself, or both"[1]
Mississippi Code of Judicial Conduct of Mississippi Judges as adopted April 4, 2002 Canon III a 7 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law"[29]
Missouri Const Art II § 14 "That the courts of justice shall be open to every person, and certain remedy afforded for every injury, property or character, and that right and justice shall be administered without sale, denial or delay."[1]
Missouri Missouri Courts Rule 2 Code of Judicial Conduct Canon III b 7 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law"'[30]
Montana Const. Art. II § 16 "Courts of justice shall be open to every person, and speedy remedy afforded for every injury of person, property or character...[r]ight and justice shall be administered without sale, denial or delay."[1]
Montana Code Ann. § 25-31-601 "Parties in justices court may appear and act in person or by attorney..."[1]
Montana Montana Canons of Judicial Ethics 3 " It is the duty of all judges to support the federal Constitution and that of this state; in so doing, they should fearlessly observe and apply fundamental limitations and guarantees.[31]
Nebraska Const. Art 1 § 13 "All courts shall be open, and every person, for any injury done him or her in his or her lands, goods, person, or reputation, shall have a remedy by due courts of law and justice administered without denial or delay..."[1]
Nebraska Judicial Canon III b 7 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law"" [32]
Nevada Judicial Canon III b 7 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law".[33]
New Hampshire Const Bill of Rights § 14 "Every subject of this state is entitled to a certain remedy, by having recourse to the laws, for all injuries he may receive in his person, property or character; to obtain right and justice freely, without being obliged to purchase it; completely, and without any denial, promptly, and without delay; conformably to the laws."[1]
New Hampshire Judicial Canon III b 7 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law"[34]
New Jersey Const. Art. 1 § 18 "The people shall have the right to... petition for redress of grievances."[1]
New Jersey Judicial Canon III a 6 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law".[35]
New Mexico SCT Rule 2-107 "A party to any civil action may appear, prosecute, defend and appeal any proceeding..."[1]
New Mexico Judicial Ethics Handbook 4700-4701 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, the right to be heard according to law. In dealing with the pro se litigant, a judge must remain impartial but ensure that the litigant receives a fair hearing. If the judge does too much to help the party, she risks becoming an advocate; if she does too little, the party is denied the fundamental right to a fair hearing. The problem is compounded if the pro se party tests the limits of the court's patience and the judge overreacts." '</ref>
New York McKinney's CPLR § 321 "A party...may prosecute or defend a civil action in person or by attorney."[1]
New York New York State Bar Association Code of Judicial Conduct Canon III b 6 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law"[36]
North Carolina Const. Art 1 § 18 "All courts shall be open; every person for an injury done him in lands, goods, person, or his reputation shall have remedy by due courts of law, and right and justice shall be administered without favor, denial, or delay."[1]
North Carolina Gen. Statute § 1-11 (1996) "A party may appear either in person or by attorney in actions or proceedings in which he is interested."[1]
North Carolina North Carolina Judicial Code Canon III a 4 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law" [37]
North Dakota Const. Art. 1 § 16 "All courts shall be open, and every man for an injury done him in his land, goods, person, or reputation, shall have remedy by due process of law, and right and justice administered without sale, denial, or delay."[1]
North Dakota North Dakota Judicial Code Canon III b 7 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law"[38]
Ohio Const 1.16 Redress in courts (1851, amended 1912) "All courts shall be open, and every person, for an injury done him in his land, goods, person, or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law, and shall have justice administered without denial or delay"[39]
Ohio Supreme Court of Ohio Report & Recommendation Task Force on Pro Se "Pro se litigants, whether voluntarily unrepresented or unable to afford counsel, must be able to participate in a meaningful way in our justice system.[40]
Oklahoma Const Art II § 6 ""The courts of justice of the State shall be open to every person, and speedy and certain remedy afforded for every wrong and for every injury to person, property, or reputation, and right and justice shall be administered without sale, denial, delay, or prejudice."[1]
Oklahoma Oklahoma III b 6 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law[41]
Oregon Const. Art. 1 § 10 "No court shall be secret, but justice shall be administered, openly and without purchase, completely and without delay, and every man shall have remedy by due course of law for injury done him in his person, property, or reputation."[1]
Oregon Oregon Code of Judicial Conduct JR 2-102 a "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law"[42]
Pennsylvania Const. Art. 1 § 11 "All courts shall be open; and every man for an injury done him in his lands, goods, person, or reputation shall have remedy by due course of law, and right and justice administered without sale, denial or delay."[1]
Pennsylvania Judicial Canon III a 4 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law.[43]
Rhode Island Const. Art 1 § 5 "Every person within this state ought to find a certain remedy, by having recourse to the laws, for all injuries or wrongs which may be received in one's person, property or character. Every person ought to obtain right and justice freely, and without purchase, completely, and without denial; promptly and without delay; conformably to the laws."[1]
Rhode Island Judicial Canon III a 7 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law."[44]
South Carolina Const. Art. 1 § 9 "All courts shall be public, and every person shall have speedy remedy therein for wrongs sustained."[1]
South Carolina Code Ann. § 40-5-80 "This chapter may not be construed so as to prevent a citizen from prosecuting or defending his own cause, if he so desires."[45]
South Dakota Const. Art VI § 20 "All courts shall be open, and every man for an injury done him in his property, person, or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law, and right and justice, administered without denial or delay."[1]
Tennessee Const. Art 1 § 17 "That all courts shall be open; and every man, for an injury done him in his lands, goods, person, or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law, and right and justice administered without sale, denial, or delay."[1]
Tennessee Code Ann. § 23-1-109 "Any person may conduct and manage the person's own case in any court of this state."[1]
Texas Const. Art. 1 § 13 "All courts shall be open, and every person for an injury done him, in his lands, goods, person or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law."[1]
Utah Const. Art. 1 § 11 "All courts shall be open, and every person, for an injury done to him in in his person, property or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law, which shall be administered without denial or unnecessary delay; and no person shall be barred from prosecuting or defending before any tribunal in this State, by himself or counsel, any civil cause to which he is a party."[1]
Utah Judicial Canon III b 8 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law.[46]
Vermont Const. Ch. 1 Art. 4 "Every person within this state ought to find a certain remedy, by having recourse to the laws, for all injuries or wrongs which one may receive in person, property or character; every person ought to obtain right and justice, freely, and without being obliged to purchase it; completely and without any denial; promptly and without delay; conformably to the laws."[1]
Virginia Judicial Canon III a 7 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law[47]
Washington Const. Art. 1 § 10 "Justice in all cases shall be administered openly, and without unnecessary delay."[1]
Washington Judicial Canon III a 4 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law.[48]
West Virginia Const. Art. III § 17 "The courts of this State shall be open, and every person, for an injury done to him, in his person, property or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law; and justice shall be administered without sale, denial or delay."[1]
West Virginia Code of Judicial Conduct Canon III b 7 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law.[49]
Wisconsin Const. Art 1 § 21 (2) "In any court of this state, any suitor may prosecute or defend his suit either in his own proper person or by an attorney of the suitor's choice."[1]
Wyoming Const Art 1 § 8 "All courts shall be open and every person for an injury done to person, reputation or property shall have justice administered without sale, denial, or delay."[1]
Wyoming Code of Judicial Conduct Canon III b 7 "A judge shall accord to every person who has a legal interest in a proceeding, or that person's lawyer, full right to be heard according to law.[50]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az Goldschmidt, Jona; Mahoney, Barry; Solomon, Harvey; Green, Joan (1998). Meeting the Challenge of Pro Se Litigation, A Report and Guidebook for Judges and Court Managers. American Judicature Society. pp. 130–134. ISBN 938870-81-5 Check |isbn= value (help). 
  2. ^ http://www.alalinc.net/jic/docs/cans2006.pdf
  3. ^ http://www.supreme.state.az.us/ethics/Code_of_Judicial_Conduct_June_2004.pdf
  4. ^ http://www.arkansas.gov/jddc/conduct.html#canon3
  5. ^ |Rules of Civil Procedure Rule Rule 1290
  6. ^ http://www.centerforjudicialexcellence.org/documents/appdiv2.pdf
  7. ^ |Board of Commissioners v. Younger (1865) 29 Cal. 147, 149
  8. ^ Tassian v. People, 731 P.2d 672 (Colo. 20 January 1987)
  9. ^ http://www.courts.state.co.us/userfiles/File/Media/Colorado_Code_of_Judicial_Conduct.pdf
  10. ^ http://www.jud.ct.gov/faq/represent.html>
  11. ^ http://www.jud2.ct.gov/webforms/forms/cl012.pdf
  12. ^ http://www.jud.ct.gov/Publications/PracticeBook/pb1.pdf
  13. ^ http://courts.delaware.gov/rules/?dejudicial.pdf
  14. ^ http://www.dcsc.gov/dccourts/docs/dc_code.pdf
  15. ^ http://www.ablelegalforms.com/canons/canon3.html
  16. ^ http://www.gabar.org/handbook/georgia_code_of_judicial_conduct/'
  17. ^ http://www.state.hi.us/jud/ctrules/rcjc.htm
  18. ^ http://www.judicialcouncil.idaho.gov/code.pdf
  19. ^ http://www.clr.org/CODE-OF-JUDICIAL-CONDUCT.html'
  20. ^ http://www.in.gov/judiciary/rules/jud_conduct/index.html
  21. ^ http://www.legis.state.ia.us/Rules/Current/court/courtrules.pdf
  22. ^ http://www.kscourts.org/Rules/Rule-Info.asp?r1=Rules+Relating+to+Judicial+Conduct&r2=328'
  23. ^ http://www.sunethics.com/kycodejudconduct.htm'
  24. ^ http://www.lasc.org/rules/supreme/cjc.asp
  25. ^ http://www.courts.state.me.us/rules_forms_fees/rules/JudCondCode7-05.pdf
  26. ^ http://michie.lexisnexis.com/maryland/lpExt.dll?f=templates&eMail=Y&fn=main-h.htm&cp=mdrules/8/e6a/1020/1067
  27. ^ http://www.mass.gov/cjc/code.pdf
  28. ^ http://www.mncourts.gov/?page=2064
  29. ^ http://www.judperf.state.ms.us/pdf/codes.pdf
  30. ^ http://www.courts.mo.gov/courts/ClerkHandbooksP2RulesOnly.nsf/>
  31. ^ http://www.montanacourts.org/supreme/boards/canons.rtf.
  32. ^ http://www.supremecourt.ne.gov/rules/pdf/Ch5Art2.pdf
  33. ^ http://www.leg.state.nv.us/CourtRules/SCR_CJC.html
  34. ^ http://www.courts.state.nh.us/rules/scr/scr-38.htm
  35. ^ http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/rules/appendices/app1_jud.htm
  36. ^ http://www.nysba.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Code_of_Judicial_Conduct'
  37. ^ http://www.aoc.state.nc.us/www/public/aoc/NCJudicialCode.pdf
  38. ^ http://www.court.state.nd.us/rules/judicial/frameset.htm
  39. ^ http://www.legislature.state.oh.us/constitution.cfm?Part=1&Section=16
  40. ^ http://www.sconet.state.oh.us/publications/prose/report_april06.pdf
  41. ^ http://www2.scjn.gob.mx/investigacionesjurisprudenciales/codigos/usa/oklahoma-code-of-judicial-conduct.pdf
  42. ^ http://www.osbar.org/_docs/rulesregs/cjc.pdf'
  43. ^ http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/207/chapter33/chap33toc.html
  44. ^ http://www.courts.state.ri.us/supreme/jtd/code.pdf
  45. ^ http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t40c005.htm
  46. ^ http://www.law.uh.edu/Libraries/ethics/Judicial/judiccanons/canon3.htm
  47. ^ http://www.courts.state.va.us/jirc/canons_112398.html#canon3
  48. ^ http://www.cjc.state.wa.us/Gov_provision/code_canons.htm
  49. ^ http://www.state.wv.us/wvsca/JIC/Codejc.htm
  50. ^ http://courts.state.wy.us/CourtRules_Entities.aspx?RulesPage=JudicialConduct.xml>

External links[edit]