Defendant Ejected from Court after Telling Judge He Does Not Have ‘Power Over Me’

By Linhchi Nguyen

SACRAMENTO – Chaos erupted in Dept. 26 of Sacramento County Superior Court Wednesday, causing Sacramento Judge Curtis M. Fiorini to order the defendant to be forcibly removed from the courtroom.

This defendant was a 54-year-old man, Mack Lucas, who was charged with conducting criminal threats to harm or kill another person. He was eventually removed from the courtroom after consistently interrupting his attorney and debating with the judge, despite warnings.

Lucas asserted himself as “the sole executive, the sole administrator, and the sole beneficiary to the estate that is before the court at this time.”

Judge Fiorini calmly acknowledged his presence and proceeded to have his public defender, Joni O’Connor, state her appearance for the record. But before O’Connor could utter a word, Lucas quickly exclaimed, “This individual does not represent me! She is not my counsel, and I will not have them hold upon me – it’s my right!”

“Mr. Lucas, I will hear you,” Judge Fiorini assured him, but Lucas persisted in his opposition, claiming that “[O’Connor] cannot inject herself as my counsel.

“I will have a lawsuit filed against her,” Lucas added. “I will also have against her having a conflict of interest when you introduce her as my counsel.”

Ignoring the defendant’s complaints, Judge Fiorini sternly warned him, “If you don’t let me do this, I will find that you’re disruptive and remove you from the courtroom. Do you want me to do that?”

After waiting for Lucas to quiet down, attorney O’Connor finally spoke up. She admitted that “it sounds like he does not want me to represent him” and requested that the judge handle the matter as a Marsden hearing. Under a Marsden motion and hearing, a defendant in a criminal case can fire his court-appointed lawyer or communicate directly with a judge.

The judge accepted her request and told Lucas that the judge will proceed in hearing his complaints in a confidential format.

But despite this statement, Lucas went ahead and made an objection out loud against having a remote hearing, claiming that it “is not a constitutional legal proceeding.

“This is a felony case, and I demand all pertinent parties to be present in the courtroom,” he said. “None of the individuals on the screen are present. It is my will to have them present and not be televised.”

Judge Fiorini told him that he could make arrangements for that. As he discussed with his clerk on the side regarding the 30th day for the preliminary hearing, Lucas interjected with another opposition. “I do not waive time! I have been incarcerated for 377 days without having the opportunity to have a preliminary hearing. I do not need to set this up for 30 days.”

Judge Fiorini attempted to have O’Connor provide her input on how the hearing could proceed, but they were interrupted numerous times by Lucas’s non-stop yelling.

“Mr. Lucas, I’m asking Ms. O’Connor a question!” Fiorini insisted.

After a few more shouts from Lucas that O’Connor does not represent him, the judge laid his final warning, “I’m warning you again that you’re being disruptive. If you continue to be disruptive, I’m going to remove you from the courtroom and will set your preliminary hearing on a separate date.”

Lucas yelled at the judge in response, “You do not have any power, servant! You do not have any power over me!”

Deciding he had enough, Judge Fiorini called the bailiff to have the defendant excused from the courtroom. At this moment, two other officers appeared to assist the bailiff in detaining the defendant. As the bailiff handcuffed Lucas and collected his belongings, Lucas is heard bickering and the bailiff responding back, “I will not interrupt you, but I’m also not going to put up with this, okay?”

After Lucas left the courtroom, Judge Fiorini restarted the hearing in his absence. Now with a quieter setting, Fiorini turned to Deputy District Attorney Brandon Jack for him to be heard on the matter at hand.

Jack admitted that it was the People’s initial intention to proceed with the preliminary hearing on this date, with or without the defendant. But given “some of the representations made by the defendant as to the objections” as Jack claimed, he was willing to trail the matter to a later date.

The judge agreed to not proceed with the hearing in the defendant’s absence. With no additional comments from the public defender, he filed to trail the matter for Nov. 5 at 8:30 a.m. in Dept. 9.

Right as he concluded the hearing, he made a last comment to the attorneys with a chuckle, “If you both can give Dept. 9 a heads up that it’s going to be a longer hearing than a typical prelim, that would be appreciated.”

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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