Conspiracy Theorist Has Right to Testify at Competency Hearing
Charles Lee Gillenwater, II is either reality-challenged or Mel Gibson. The court, psychiatrists, and his counsel believe the former. He’ll now have the opportunity to prove it’s the latter.
From the record, it seems that Gillenwater worked construction for Caesar’s casino, and while working there, blew the whistle on OSHA violations involving asbestos. Since then, he alleges that the lawyers, Democrats, President Obama, and members of his cabinet are all involved in a plot to silence him. At one point, he contacted Federal Protective Services and told them:
"FBI won't protect me! Hackers, 10,000 cyber attacks, Psy-Ops, Caesars lawyers bringing people up to Idaho who are involved in this, to say 'Hi Chuck' and walk away. I've been physically, emotionally, financially destroyed and still under attack from
Caesars, Nevada and Feds!!!!!!"
He also contacted a senator and informed him that people were going to kill him, as well as his staff, and blame it on Gillenwater.
Apparently, his court-appointed counsel was in on the conspiracy as well, as he advised against Gillenwater testifying at his competency hearing. When counsel expressed this advice in court, Gillenwater verbally expressed his desire to testify and then called his attorney "a criminal." The judge then stepped in:
JUDGE: Mr. Gillenwater, that's enough.
GILLENWATER: Then get me the f**k out of here.
GILLENWATER: The exculpatory evidence clears me.
JUDGE: Then you can go out.
GILLENWATER: The exculpatory evidence clears me of this f**king diagnosis.
JUDGE: That's enough.
GILLENWATER: You're not going to be a jury -- a judge -- you're not going to be a judge much longer.
JUDGE: That's enough.
GILLENWATER: I'll wait -- I'll wait for the Republicans to come back. The exculpatory evidence clears me of that diagnosis and these charges. You will not be a judge much longer. I'll wait for Republicans.
(Mr. Gillenwater is removed from the courtroom.)
Needless to say, he was removed from the courtroom and found incompetent to stand trial.
The Ninth Circuit, however, reversed the finding and remanded for a new hearing? Why? Their decision wasn't based on a finding of sanity (though they did note that the whistle-blowing and construction job were supported by the record).
No, the Ninth Circuit held that the constitutional right to testify extends to one's competency hearing. The came to this proposition based on the Supreme Court's recognition of the right to testify in criminal proceedings, even beyond the trial, and the Ninth Circuit's prior holding of a right to be present at one's competency hearing.
We know what you're thinking. Didn't he waive, through disruptive conduct, his right to testify?
Ah, but that's the rub. One must be explicitly warned that they will waive their right to testify if they continue to disrupt the proceedings. Look closely at the above transcript. There is no explicit warning of waiver of a right to testify.
The Ninth remanded for another competency hearing. We can only hope that Gillenwater's oral advocacy skills will illuminate the truth behind the conspiracy ...
- United States v. Gillenwater (Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals)
- Impaired Judge and Incompetent Man's Plea to a Death Sentence (FindLaw's Ninth Circuit Blog)
- Man Sues After Avoiding 5 Years of Prison Due to Sentencing Error (FindLaw's Ninth Circuit Blog)
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.