The right eloquence needs no bell to call the people together and no constable to keep them. ~ Emerson

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Move to Strike Bowel Movement

Weusi McGowan, a thirty-seven year old man from San Diego, takes shit from nobody when it comes to ensuring his legal rights but this does not stop him from dishing it out.

In a story first reported by San Diego’s and subsequently picked up by the Associated Press, McGowan was on trial for kidnapping, robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, and other counts. He grew disenchanted with the defense attorney and judge assigned to his case and took forceful action to flush them.

McGowan originally became upset when he claimed one of the jurors saw him in shackles as he entered the courtroom and feared this would prejudice the jury against him. Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Fraser agreed with his concerns and dismissed all jurors who saw the shackles. McGowan believed the incident should result in a mistrial.

Another full week into the trial, McGowan petitioned the court again, this time asking to remove Deputy Alternate Public Defender Jeffrey Martin because he wanted to represent himself. Judge Fraser denied his request, saying it was "untimely."

So, this Monday, McGowan smuggled a bag of feces (presumably his own) into court and spread it on Martin’s hair and face. He then flung the excrement toward the jury box, hitting the briefcase of one juror but missing the actual jurors. Prosecutor Christopher Lawson told reporters that nobody in the courtroom was aware what McGowan was doing prior to that point (with the obvious exception of Martin).

For all its shocking bizarreness, McGowan’s manure maneuver worked where his verbal plea had failed. Judge Fraser called a lunch recess after the incident. When the jury returned, Fraser told them he was declaring a mistrial and McGowan would need to find himself a new attorney – which is exactly what the defendant wanted.

Granted, Fraser increased McGowan’s bail from $250,000 to $1 million, declaring him a danger to the community. McGowan may also face assault charges for attacking his attorney and jury.

Lawson further revealed that McGowan was known to wipe human feces on himself in the past. However, an examination by doctors found him mentally competent to stand trial.

McGowan’s original conviction came in October 2007. He got into a fight with another man, allegedly over drugs and money. McGowan tied up the other man, ransacked his apartment, and stole his 1994 Ford Taurus, after hitting him over the head with a sock he had previously filled with . . . rocks. His victim freed himself and jumped out of a second-story window in an attempt to stop the auto theft, injuring himself in the process.

The questions and observations raised by this case are numerous and deeply meditative.

First, exactly what would a defendant have to smear all over themselves to raise doubts in the minds of the San Diego justice system regarding their competence to stand trial?

Second, how clueless were the authorities at whatever jail or prison housing McGowan that they did not notice him taking a bag of feces to his trial that morning?

Third, how incredibly clueless were the authorities in the courtroom if McGowan was able to rub excrement over one human being and then throw it at another before anybody began to suspect that perhaps he was up to something?

Fourth, what was in the judge’s mind when he ordered everybody to go to lunch immediately after this incident occurred?

Fifth, while I grant I am unsure what else Judge Fraser could do in the matter, it seems the mistrial declared for McGowan sets a dangerous precedent whereby a defendant whose case is going extremely poorly might be highly encouraged to gain themselves a "do-over" by openly flouting the court’s authority.

Sixth, McGowan is not a good person to be anywhere near when he is upset about something.

Seventh, if McGowan ever approaches you and tells you he "has something for you," I urge you to observe caution. My warning only increases should he add that he "made it himself."

Eight, what is it exactly with McGowan and sacks filled with stuff?

Ninth, many defendants rely on the Constitution to ensure they get a fair trail but McGowan may be the first to rely upon his morning constitutional to do so, as the website wittily observes.

Tenth, if McGowan is re-tried and found not guilty, should this little stunt be regarded as the potty break that got him off? Was McGowan wearing a shit-eating gin when he did the deed? Would eating feces constitute questionable competency in San Diego?

Finally, if we conclude nothing else from all this, it appears that vengeance, like justice, is a dish best served pre-digested.

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