Friday, December 05, 2014

People v. Kirwin (Cal. Ct. App. - Dec. 4, 2014)

Justice Hoffstadt begins this opinion by saying:

"Does a trial court abuse its discretion in denying a criminal defendant the right to represent himself when he has repeatedly refused to come to court and be interviewed by a court-appointed mental health expert? Is a defendant who makes six separate telephone calls urging a relative to persuade the prosecution’s chief witness not to testify at trial entitled, under People v. Bailey (1961) 55 Cal.2d 514, to dismissal of all but one of his six convictions for attempting to dissuade a witness? The answer to both questions is no, and we affirm Defendant Charles Kirvin’s convictions and, with one small correction, the 26-year prison sentence imposed in this case."

I'll add only one sentence to this otherwise cogent recitation of the case.  A fact that Justice Hoffstadt tactfully omits from his initial recitation, but which I'm confident matters -- both from a legal as well as a practical perspective -- to how the Court of Appeal comes out in this case.  It would read:

"Oh, and, by the way, not only does the defendant refuse to come to court whenever he doesn't feel like it, but he also repeatedly throws excrement on people -- like jail officials -- he doesn't like.  Is this the kind of guy we're going to let represent himself in court?"

Okay, so that's two sentences.  But you get the point.

Throwing poo = Not representing yourself.

We have enough problems in courtrooms already these days without adding flying feces to the mix.