Michael Crane Can't Represent Himself in Paradise Valley Murder Case, Judge Rules
|Michael Lee Crane|
Crane's accused of killing three people -- Paradise Valley couple Glenna and Lawrence Shapiro, as well as businessman Bruce Gaudet -- and while Granville found Crane competent to represent himself, it's Crane's goofy behavior in the courtroom that lost him his chance.
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Crane met the competency tests established by previous Supreme Court cases, and noted that Crane showed an understanding of issues raised in the courtroom, Granville's ruling says.
But, Granville's ruling turns: "The fact that Defendant is competent to represent himself does not end the inquiry," he says.
"Even if a defendant has been found competent to waive counsel, the court still has discretion to deny the request for self-representation if the defendant "deliberately engages in serious and obstructionist misconduct" or does not "comply with the relevant rules of procedural and substantive law," the ruling says, citing case law.
Granville doesn't mention the animal noises Crane used in court, but rather the fact that Crane has insisted that standard laws didn't apply to his case, even though there's absolutely no way they don't.
"[Crane]...politely but consistently and firmly declined to acknowledge that the governing authority for his case included provisions of the United States Constitution and the Arizona Constitution applicable to criminal proceedings, the Arizona Criminal Code, the Arizona Rules of Criminal Procedure and Rules of Evidence," the ruling says. "At another point in our colloquy, Defendant asserted that his First Amendment right of free speech superseded this Court's authority to control the proceedings."
Since it's been pretty clear that Crane's going to continue to insist that everyone play by Maritime Law, or something similar to it -- which is never going to happen -- it's not likely that anything would ever get done with Crane representing himself.
Granville also noted the times that Crane refused to go to court, refused to answer questions in court, and the time Crane had to be removed from the courtroom.
Among other things, the ruling says Crane representing himself "would jeopardize the exercise of his rights, would hinder the pursuit of justice, and would disrupt and delay the orderly progress of the case."
Crane's facing a variety of charges aside from the three counts of first-degree murder, related to allegedly breaking into Gaudet's and the Shapiros' home, killing them, and torching their homes, stealing their belongings on his way out.
Several other people have also been charged with crimes related to receiving or trafficking property that belonged to Gaudet or the Shapiros.