18 October 2005

enChanting Client

Client was arrested for obstruction of justice and battery of a police officer. I've spent a fair amount of time trying to square away the fact that the police charged him under somebody else's name and met with Client a few times. He doesn't seem much different than a typical, fairly friendly, frequent flyer.

After I spend a week getting the identity squared away, we have a bond hearing. Client's bond was set at $10,000 originally because he wouldn't admit he was the guy whom they claimed he was and that guy had a sexual offense history. I show the judge a picture of the other guy from the sex offender website and point out that he's not my client. That gets Client's bond dropped to $5,000 and his real name amended to the warant as an AKA. I point out it's not an AKA - it's his real name - but the prosecutor and judge both insist on leaving the name he was charged under and putting his real name as an AKA. Client is clearly disappointed but doesn't do anything disruptive.

Then comes the date of the hearing in the general district court. As I walk into the building every deputy I pass tells me that Sergeant is looking for me. When I get to the courtroom itself a deputy meets me at the door and calls on the radio for Sergeant. Sergeant gets there and tells me that Client has been difficult. They had to fight him to get him out of the jail into the van. He head-butted another inmate in the van. They had to fight to get him from the van into lockup in the basement. He's going to be the last person called on this morning's docket because they are worried about security.

Okay . . . I go off and take care of a couple other cases and then come back and talk with the prosecutor. The prosecutor offers to reduce the felony A&B to a misdemeanor with 6 months (actually 3 to serve) and 30 days (actually 15 to serve) on the obstruction misdemeanor. Client has already banked a couple months and if he takes the deal it would be less time than he is going to serve waiting for the felony trial date. I go down to the basement to try to talk to Client but they can't bring him to the attorney meeting room because there is only one deputy and won't deal with Client with less than two. So, I tell them that I will talk to Client when they bring him upstairs; the second to last case is finishing upstairs so we're next.

I go back upstairs and go to the upstairs lockup. It takes time because they are having trouble getting him into the elevator. The deputy in upstairs lockup tells me that they have to drag him to the elevator. The elevator opens and Client is laying on the floor, mumbling. There are 4 extra deputies in the elevator. One of them asks Client if he's going to make them drag him and Client stands up. He looks disoriented and they walk him up to me with deputies on all sides.

I try to focus him: "Mr. Smith!" He looks at me for a second and then says, "Illah" and starts chanting nonsense. "This is blue, I am green, a white man with glasses, this place is yellow, I'm not yellow, green, green . . ." One of the deputies immediately puts Client's right wrist in a lock hold. Client keeps going and going and going and has a thousand mile stare going on. There is no way I can put this guy in front of a judge and claim that he is competent.

I go out to the judge and tell him that I need a mental evaluation: "I'm sorry, your Honor, if I'd realized it was needed before today I'd have asked for it sooner."

Judge: "Well, Mr. Lammers, Client seemed pretty lucid when we had that bond hearing a last week."

Client (loud enough to be heard from the soundproofed lockup area): "Blue is now, Green has been, Hair is good . . ."

Judge: "Mr. Lammers, I'm going to order evaluation for competency and sanity at time of the offense. And if you think he's so dangerous that he can't go to trial, I think I'm going to have to revoke his bond."

I see the judge look behind me and glance back. There are 15 deputies standing in the courtroom waiting in case the other 5 have to bring Client from out of lockup.

Me: "I don't know that Client is dangerous - although it appears that others may have concerns - I just cannot vouch for his competency."

The judge orders the evaluation and revokes Client's bond. I go in the lockup and two deputies are standing on either side of Client, holding him down as he sits in a chair. He's still going strong: "This place is purple and she is brown and brown with glasses . . ." I try to get his attention but fail. Sergeant gets his people ready to escort Client back down the elavator. I tell Sergeant to wait a second, I have to say the words to him even if he doesn't understand right now because he might later. So I tell Client what is going on but he just keeps staring a thousand miles out and chanting away. Then the deputies let him up and escort him to the elavator and I hear the chants fade away as the elavator doors close and the elavator goes back down to the basement.

Thus ends a rather confusing morning.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sorry I missed that scene! Lesson, do not drink the jail Kool Aid, Jim said it was good, but...