Jackiya Ford is officially crazy. According to the article in the Missoulian from 1 June 2010 (I'm having problems with my meds, hence the delay):
A psychological evaluation of the 37-year-old woman accused of stealing a home in Lolo revealed that she is not mentally fit to proceed to trial, but prosecutors want a second opinion.
An appointment for the second evaluation couldn't be made until mid- to late July, however, and Public Defender Chris Daly said that was too long to wait under Montana's speedy trial guarantees.
[Judge Robert L. "Dusty" Deschamps III] agreed, and said the prosecutor would have to find a private psychologist who could perform the evaluation sooner.
"I'm not going to leave someone who is mentally ill and suffering from delusions sitting in a jail cell for two months while she waits for a bed at the state hospital," Deschamps said.
I wonder what gave it away? Was it her LinkedIn page where she claimed to have marched with MLK several times, the Dr. Bronner-like rant on her MySpace page (see Jackiya Ford: Crazier than I thought for more of that sort of madness), or the pure insanity of an African-American gospel singer appropriating the language and methods of a scam rooted in Identity Christianity to attempt to steal property in MONTANA? (see Reverend Colonel William Potter Gale must be spinning in his grave for details)
Perhaps she had something new for the people evaluating her.
Meanwhile, since the 1990s were 20 years ago it's time for '90s retro chic. Militias were hot as the right-wing political extremists of the 1990s, so they're back. Montana had two organizations in the vanguard of patriots guarding against the Black Helicopters and New World Order: the Militia of Montana and the Freemen. Brent is reminding people of the Freemen. I originally thought he wasn't involved with the neo-Freemen who are openly back in Lincoln county. Most political extremists are united only by overlapping aspects of their ideologies; Brent is probably acting on his own, like whoever did the drive-by "paper terrorism" in Hamilton county earlier this year. So if he used the Freemen's tactics to try to acquire some property, will he do the same during his trial? An article in the Missoulian from 3 June 2010 tries to answer that.
Nick Murnion was Garfield County attorney who prosecuted members of the Montana Freemen. He said:
"Some have said very few things and mostly just sat there," ... "This fellow sounds more vocal. Obviously, none of them believe the state has any authority over them - they claim they aren't citizens and the courts have no jurisdiction. It gets kind of bizarre."
"Does the courtroom where he's appearing have an American flag in it?" ... "If the flag has a fringe on it, I've seen them claim it's a maritime flag and therefore the court only has jurisdiction on water."
Like the Freemen Brent insists he has no rights, wants no attorney, and doesn't recognize Lake County's jurisdiction over him. It's doubtful anyone would believe it if Brent offered a $1 million dollar bounty on the prosecutor as happened to Mr. Murnion, but Brent rented out one of those houses and was in the process of getting a home equity loan, so anything is possible.
In 2008 the US Supreme Court ruled that if someone is declared competent enough to stand trial the judge could still say that person is too crazy to represent themselves, and the judge gets to determine that however they like. (Indiana v. Edwards) It's like obscenity, the judges know it when they see it. However...
Broadwater County Attorney John T. Flynn says the Montana Supreme Court has said that defendants have an absolute right to represent themselves, in a ruling that essentially read, he says, that "in Montana, you have a constitutional right to be a fool."
A defendant who disrupts proceedings and does not conform to a certain level of decorum, however, does not have an absolute right to be present in the courtroom, and Flynn says that leads to a couple of competing rights for those who represent themselves.
They have the right against self-incrimination, but they also can't obstruct justice.A defendant who disrupts proceedings and does not conform to a certain level of decorum, however, does not have an absolute right to be present in the courtroom, and Flynn says that leads to a couple of competing rights for those who represent themselves.
It would be a tad bit difficult to represent yourself if you're not allowed to be in the courtroom. Judge
Deborah Christopher would probably have to invoke Indiana v. Edwards, tell Brent to suck it up, and appoint a lawyer to represent him.
Read the full article for more potential courtroom antics and wacky prosecutorial war stories.