Ultimately, the courts found that Joshua Nisbet waived his right to have an attorney, but the case is unusual in that Nisbet wanted an attorney to represent him. The courts ruled that he waived his right to have an attorney, due to the actions he took over the course of the case that prevented several lawyers from staying on his case. He reportedly disagreed over strategy, asked them to engage in unethical conduct, and ultimately threatened to shoot one attorney in the eye with a BB gun. The courts found that he had forfeited the right to have an attorney based on his actions.
Now, it is not unusual for people to waive their right to an attorney, and represent themselves. That’s also within their rights, though it is rarely a good idea. However, it’s extremely unusual for counsel to be denied when desired by a defendant. I’ve never heard of such a situation happening in Florida.
Legally, the concept is sound, but troubling. Your rights are personal to you, and you can waive them. You can waive a jury trial, you can waive your right to remain silent, and you can waive your right to demand a warrant. Not all of these rights require a knowledgeable waiver: for instance, when a cop reads someone their Miranda rights, but that person chooses to blurt out incriminating things… those things can often still be used against a person, even if they didn’t mean to. It’s troubling that a man who wanted an attorney was not permitted to get one… but the extreme circumstances of this case might be the rare case where it was appropriate.
Also, never threaten to shoot your lawyer. That’s just bad form!
Sometimes, things just come together for the perfect story… the perfect Florida story. The headline says it all. To cap it off, a couple of cops responded quickly because they just happened to be near by… because of course they were. Sadly, Jalopnik beat me to this story, and they just nailed the write up, so click through for the full details! Judy Tabor has been charged with a DUI for the crash.
The damaged Waffle House, image via Crestview Bulletin, Thomas Boni
The incident happened back in October, but authorities were waiting on blood alcohol tests to file the charges. Her blood levels were several times the legal limit.
Collier County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Russell has been arrested for a DUI. He was involved in a crash while in his patrol vehicle, and taken to the hospital. Interestingly, while the arresting officer found signs of impairment, apparently there were no indicators of alcohol abuse. That would suggest, by process of elimination, that they may believe he was impaired by a controlled substance. (Note, many prescription drugs qualify as controlled substances.)
O.J. Simpson Prison Photo
In a bizarre twist, LAPD announced today that they have a knife in place that was possibly recovered from O.J. Simpson’s estate. Apparently, a retired officer says that a construction worker gave it to him when we was off-duty, but working a detail across the street. It’s unclear, but it may have been when the home was being destroyed in 1998. The officer says that he kept the knife at home, and was getting it framed when he asked a colleague for some details of the case, at which point the colleague informed the higher ups, who ordered the retired cop to turn it over.
The L.A. police department indicate they are going to forensically test the knife, checking for blood, hairs, or anything that might determine if the knife was involved in the murders of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman. It’s doubtful there will be definitive evidence after so many years, and the knife apparently being buried for some time. Not that it matters, as double jeopardy prohibits O.J. from being tried again for the murders.
They issued a mandate some time last year that judges must wear black robes, and only black robes, throughout Florida courts. It is only an issue locally because some of the judges like to dress casually when they are covering weekend court, such as first appearances, and that may be verboten under the new dictum. Apparently the impetus was from some judges that have expressed some more flair… judges on the east coast with different colors every day of the week and a judge in Central Florida that had a camouflage robe made up.
Apparently, part of the court’s reason for the mandate can be traced back to a code dispute with Donald Trump!