Man accused of reckless driving rethinks representing himself

The Santa Clarita Courthouse. KATHARINE LOTZE/Signal.

Father and son motorcyclists accused in October of reckless driving appeared in court Friday, the younger represented by a lawyer, his father asking to represent himself.

When the judge, however, described the elder man’s plan to appear before him without an attorney as “terrible …. bad …. dumb” the older man changed his mind.

Judge Robert J. Schuit granted the father time to consider working with a public defender and ordered both men to appear back in court at a later date.

Lars and Kenneth Svanoe, 47 and 25 years old respectively, were arrested in October after a Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s deputy spotted the pair riding their motorcycles recklessly on Soledad Highway, Lt. Brenda Cambra, said at the time of the arrest.

Lars and Kenneth appeared at the Santa Clarita Courthouse Friday morning, sitting side by side in the front row, the elder Svanoe holding a file folder.

When their names were called, both men approached the bench.

The judge asked if they were brothers and, when told of the father’s intention of self representation, he told him: “It’s not a great idea to represent yourself.”

Schuit told the father that the misdemeanor charge of reckless driving is “not a traffic ticket, even though it was issued on the road.

“There is the possibility of jail time and other consequences,” he said. “It is important for you to consider getting a lawyer.

“It’s a dumb idea,” he said about representing himself. “I’m putting it in blunt terms.”

The elder Svanoe was told he would be treated the same as any lawyer would be treated if he represented himself, and that he would be expected to know the law.

“The bottom line, as a judge, I view this as a bad idea,” Schuit said.  “I suggest you get legal representation because this is terrible idea.”

Lars Svanoe said he would get in touch with a public defender.

Before they were told to appear back in court, a prosecutor with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office told the judge: “The people’s offer is a package deal,” meaning an agreement drawn up by prosecutors is a deal that applies to both father and son.

Lars and Kenneth Svanoe were arrested Oct. 8, 2016, on suspicion of reckless driving after a local sheriff’s deputy saw a pack of motorcyclists allegedly speeding through Saugus and allegedly running a red light.

“The deputy saw a group of motorcycles traveling together at a high rate of speed,” Cambra told The Signal in October.

“He saw two of the motorcycle riders enter the intersection after the light had turned red. The group continued down the roadway in excess of the speed limit.”

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