Law is reason free from passion. -Aristotle
WHEN I WAS THE HEAD OF THE INMATE LAW LIBRARY at FCI Seagoville, Texas back in the early 90's, I used to pull this case off the shelf's every few weeks and read aloud from the transcripts and we rolled in laughter at this:
US v. Flint, 756 F.1358-62 (9th Cir. 1985):
The dialogue in which appellant and the Magistrate engaged was as follows:
THE MAGISTRATE: Mr. Flynt, if you tell me that you do not understand that you have the right to have an attorney represent you, I am going to be obliged, in order to protect your rights, to appoint an attorney to represent you.
THE DEFENDANT: Don't do me any favors, your honor. I mean, you are the madam, and over here (indicating) is another whore and this guy who says he is my attorney is a streetwalker.
THE MAGISTRATE: Mr. Flynt, I expect you to behave yourself here.
THE DEFENDANT: Then you might as well put my ass in jail. Now, I am trying to be nice to you, god damn it. Now, are you going to let me read my arraignment and plea or are you going to put me in jail again? What the fuck is going on here?
* * *
THE MAGISTRATE: All right. I am going to appoint Mr. Isaacman to represent you as your attorney for these proceedings. You may choose to call--
THE DEFENDANT: Then take my ass to jail, cocksucker, because I--
THE MAGISTRATE: All right.
THE DEFENDANT: --refuse to go through this bullshit.
THE MAGISTRATE: All right, would you proceed with the arraignment?
THE DEFENDANT: You dumb, ignorant mother fucker. Now, I am telling you; you are not going to get away with this.
THE MAGISTRATE: Proceed with the arraignment.
THE DEFENDANT: There are [sic] no fucking way you are going to get away with it. You are denying me my counsel of my choice. You are just as dumb as that god damn Burger up there on the Supreme Court, and I am ready to stay in jail until hell freezes over or until I have the attorney of my choice.
You god damn, no good, 14 karat piece of shit, you. Just cause you got on that robe, you don't have any god damn right to abuse the Constitution that you are supposed to be upholding.
(He is just getting warmed up!!)
Appellant's remarks were a part of the following colloquy:
Q: Mr. Flynt, is there any other reason you could give us that you already haven't as to why you said the things you did to Magistrate McMahon on December 12 at the hearing?
A: Yes, there is, Mr. Kahn.
Q: What is it?
A: I went to the United States Supreme Court and I called every one of them no-good, lousy, dumb, mother-fuckers, what assholes they were. And that I would be back as soon as I was allowed out of prison to tell them mother-fuckers they had violated my goddamn mother-fucking civil rights as long as they intend to, and if I am not kept in prison--
MR. KAHN: Your Honor--
[THE DEFENDANT]:--until hell freezes over, I will kill--
MR. KAHN: Your Honor, can we please--
THE DEFENDANT:--every mother-fucking one of them. Blow those mother-fucking judges--
MR. KAHN: Could we have a short recess, please, your Honor--
THE DEFENDANT:--and I don't want--
THE COURT: No, Mr. Kahn, he knows what he is doing.
THE DEFENDANT: No--I don't--
MR. KAHN: Your Honor--
THE DEFENDANT:--and I am crazier than hell. I want a competency hearing.
The exchange between appellant and the court was as follows:
FLYNT: I move that you call the U.S. marshal to the stand that was present when I took the drugs, when I was flung on the floor by an inmate, and when I was kicked when I was smacked. I want the U.S. marshal called, I also want the guard called that tipped me off that this asshole was sending me to Springfield.
THE MARSHALL: Open up the door.
THE COURT: No, that is all right. He's got the responsibility.
That is going to cost you 30 days, Mr. Flynt.
THE DEFENDANT: Hey, you know what punishment--is. Well, you don't give a fuck.
THE COURT: Mr. Flynt, you just keep that up.
THE DEFENDANT: Fuck you. Give me life without parole you foul mother-fucker.
THE COURT: That is another 30.
THE DEFENDANT: I want you--give me more. You chicken-shit son-of-a-bitch.
THE COURT: That is another 30 days.
THE DEFENDANT: Give me more.
Appellant's final outburst occurred as follows:
THE COURT: For the contempt of December 12th, 1983, the defendant shall be committed to the custody of the Attorney General or his representative for a period of six months, and for each of the contempts upon which he was cited here in court today, 30 days. Each of those sentences are to run consecutively to each other and not concurrently.
THE DEFENDANT: Give me more, mother-fucker. Is that all you can give me, you chicken-shit cocksucker? Lay 18 months on me, you dumb mother-fucker.
THE COURT: Now--
THE DEFENDANT: Fuck you in your ass.
THE COURT: That is enough.
THE DEFENDANT: You suck--
THE COURT: That will be another six months which will be also consecutive.
THE DEFENDANT: I want you to give me more. Give me more.
For the sake of completeness, we note that there is a serious question whether the punishment, as it was imposed in this case, actually served the district court's purpose. As portions of the colloquy between appellant and the district court strongly suggest, it is just as likely that it served appellant's purpose instead. In any event, it would not be in the best interests of the judicial system or the public to prolong this travesty any further. The time has come to draw the curtain on a seamy and tawdry episode. We do so now by vacating appellant's sentences.
REVERSED AND VACATED.