Man ejected from courtroom for disrupting proceedings
A West Virginia man who was ejected from his own trial for repeatedly declaring himself a “free person” and disrupting the proceedings was convicted on Monday of driving under the influence and ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation.
Duane Philip McAtee, 42, of 87 Sammy Slay Lane, Metz, W.Va., told Fayette County Senior Judge Ralph Warman at the outset of his nonjury trial on Monday he wanted the charges dismissed and $20 million “in redemption” for his arrest on drunken-driving charges.
State police filed the charges when a trooper found McAtee urinating next to his pickup truck on Hardin Hollow Road in Georges on Dec, 19, 2010. Police said breath-alcohol tests showed McAtee had a blood-alcohol concentration of at least 0.119 percent. In Pennsylvania, a motorist is considered to be intoxicated at 0.08 percent.
McAtee tried unsuccessfully to fire his public defender and declared himself a “free person” and a “defendant in error.” He claimed neither the police nor the courts had authority to charge him or hold the trial.
“I do not understand, I overstand,” McAtee told Warman when asked if he understood his rights. “I waive the privileges and beneficiaries of the United States of America Incorporated.”
McAtee told the judge he did not “consent” to the trial or the proceedings, but remained in the courtroom. He repeatedly spoke over Warman, Assistant District Attorney Michelle Kelley and the public defender, Michael Garofalo, until Warman ejected him from the courtroom as the morning session ended.
McAtee was permitted to return to the courtroom for the afternoon session. He lodged fewer objections when Garofalo told him he could be held in contempt if he did not stop.
McAtee declined to mount a defense.
Warman found McAtee guilty of drunken driving and, over McAtee's objections, ordered that he undergo a mental health evaluation to determine competency before sentencing at 9:30 a.m. March 1.
Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Two cars strike horse near Fayette fair
- Turbine sites near properties in Fayette County threatened
- Letters won’t be used as evidence in North Union man’s homicide trial
- Porterfield: Breakneck Church plans flea market, bake sale
- Connellsville churches combine festivals
- Connellsville residents continue to ‘Light the Way’ with special event Saturday
- 3 men to stand trial over runaway Latrobe foster children
- Fayette Friends of Animals volunteer uses talent to help get her shelter animals adopted
- Judge: Fayette man’s statements admissible at trial in death of toddler daughter
- Fayette jail foes want county to be stricken as intervenor in case
- Man held for trial in dragging of Redstone cop