Day 7 of Keith Graves’ trial. Another delay plus lots of drama outside the courtroom

Jury Box in a court room. Photo courtesy of
Jury Box in a court room. Photo courtesy of

Andrew Sheeler reports in Bismarck Tribune: Graves’ trial to resume Wednesday with or without defendant. Article reports Mr. Graves was placed on suicide watch Monday after some undisclosed incident.

PACER system shows minutes from a status conference on Tuesday which indicate prosecutors, standby counsel and Mr. Graves were all present. An exhibit was received and placed under seal. The judge reviewed unspecified trial matters with the defendant. Conference lasted 35 minutes.

The case docket on PACER also shows a habeas corpus order for Mr. Graves to appear in court. Presumably this is to deliver him for trial on Wednesday from wherever he is currently held. Court also issued another habeas corpus order for another named individual to appear. Presumably this would be a defense witness requested by Mr. Graves. The person has the same last name as another person ordered to appear.

Back to the article, which says Mr. Graves was given extensive testing to include blood workup, X-rays, EKG, and MRI, all of which identified no medical problems.

Article reports Mr. Graves had an alleged scuffle with federal marshals as he was being transported to court on Tuesday morning. Article does not describe what was involved in the “scuffle.” Presumably it was something rather substantial if the Marshals needed to report it to the judge.

The judge warned Mr. Graves that if there are any more delaying tactics or additional “lashing out”, he will be removed from the courtroom and his standby attorney will take over in his absence.

His standby attorney is ready to take over the case. He said, presumably in court, that he has no intention of calling any of the witnesses identified by Mr. Graves since he (the attorney) doesn’t know what would come out of the testimony. Seems to me with my limited understanding of court procedure, it was be hazardous to put any of the planned witnesses on the stand as a defense witness.

Article says the judge advised Mr. Graves to either consult with his standby counsel or let the attorney take over his case. Mr. Graves said he intends to keep on representing himself.

Unfortunately, all the news from today proves the old saying that anyone who represents himself in court has a fool for a client. In this case it would also be an unstable client.

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