By Angelina Sang and Sophia Barberini
SANTA BARBARA, CA – A series of bizarre situations occurred here in Santa Barbara County Superior Court Tuesday, ranging from people poorly representing themselves to refusals to appear in court due to desired Vegas trips.
One man even asked the judge if he wanted to go surfing with him.
Of a more serious nature, tensions rose between Judge Clifford Anderson and one man who decided he would represent himself, and asked for access to body camera footage he believed contained exculpatory evidence.
But, according to the court, he failed to file any written motions to obtain the footage.
Judge Anderson, agitated by the defendant’s lack of preparedness, addressed the defendant, “You will be held to the standards of an attorney because that is what you wanted to do. I told you that I thought it was a mistake for you to represent yourself. I told you that I thought you would do yourself irreparable harm because you don’t know what you’re doing.”
While the man attempted to interject as Judge Anderson spoke, the judge once again scolded the defendant.
“One of the first things you would know if you were an attorney is that you would never interrupt the judge… You come in and make oral motions which are disfavored by the court, not written motions that are required for discovery,” maintained Judge Anderson.
The man, seemingly unphased by Judge Anderson’s warnings, continued to inquire about when he would receive the evidence he requested. With a heavy sigh, Judge Anderson informed the defendant that the process for him to receive the evidence was in motion.
Then the cases turned to a less serious vein.
Soon after, another man created difficulties for the court, this time interrupting Judge Anderson and his own defense attorney, Deputy Public Defender Brian Mathis, with profanities and ramblings until both Judge Anderson and PD Mathis felt compelled to mute the defendant.
When brought into court, the man began by nonchalantly waving to the court and voicing his desire to surf, inviting Judge Anderson to accompany him, saying “let’s go surf, dude.”
Disregarding his comments, Judge Anderson asked if the man consented to online hearings. He responded with a profanity-filled rant about the inadequacy of electronics, though he eventually agreed to the virtual hearing.
The final straw came when the defendant verbally attacked the DA, asking for the DA’s name and if the DA could be hit. PD Mathis promptly asked for his client to be muted to prevent any further disruptions, though the man continuously waved his middle finger on the Zoom once he was muted.
Nearing the end of the session, a deputy reported to Judge Anderson that yet another man was “refusing to come out of his cell” because “he wants to go to Vegas.”
Deputy Public Defender Mathis remarked, “We all do,” seemingly echoing the sentiments of the court after a bizarre and frustrating day.