Monday, July 21, 2003

Pro se defendant declares Judge Richard Williams is the devil

Via Virginia Lawyers Weekly, this story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch describes a hearing before Judge Richard Williams of the E.D. Va., involving the representation of a defendant in a criminal tax case, and his decision to represent himself. Among the highlights:

"Foster, who was wearing a T-shirt bearing the inscription, "40 Acres and a Bentley," gave the judge some unorthodox and unresponsive answers, most of which Williams listened to with uncharacteristic patience.

"I'm telling you that you are committing a criminal offense. . . . I understand that God is my witness and he will judge you and anybody else that is committing these offenses," Foster said.

"God is my representative, let's make that clear, OK?" he said at another point. A moment later, he said "indigenous lawyer Drew Sharref El" is his attorney.

"It's a disgrace for me to even be standing here in this courtroom," he said still later. "I have no respect for you or this so-called . . . ." When Foster paused, Williams simply asked another question.

After Williams had ruled that he could represent himself, Foster had still another comment.

"Let me tell you something," Foster told the judge. "You are the devil. You are the devil."

Williams recessed court. Marshals put the handcuffs back on Foster."

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