Apparently thinking that the nation's appointed (and often heroic) defense counsel don't have enough to put up with already, a Washington man recently decided to become a literal pain in the neck for two of his attorneys. (I really couldn't improve much on the original headline of this item, to be honest.)
Last Friday, 27-year-old Joshua Monson poked his lawyer in the neck with a pencil, marking the second time that week he had poked a lawyer in the neck with a pencil. Monson, who is facing drug charges in that case (and second-degree murder charges in another one), was participating in a hearing by video when he decided to stab his own attorney with what was described as a "golf pencil." To my knowledge, inmates are not normally allowed to golf, and so I assume this was just a short, stubby, and relatively blunt pencil of the kind that you might give somebody who needed a pencil but who you are concerned might stab you with it.
There would have been good reason for concern, since Monson had stabbed his first attorney with a pencil the previous Tuesday. The report didn't say what kind of pencil that was, although thankfully neither attorney was injured to any degree. Nor did it say for sure why Monson might have taken up this habit, although the fact that a competency hearing had been scheduled for last Thursday makes that a pretty good bet. On the other hand, "[s]ome people react differently to stress," said the lawyer stabbed on Tuesday. "I think that may have been an issue with Mr. Monson." Could be.
Despite the assault, that lawyer said he would stand by his client. "I'm just going to continue with his representation," he said. "That's what I do." He didn't, though, not because he was unwilling or afraid but because of concerns that Monson would use the incident to argue "ineffective assistance" due to an "adversarial relationship" (caused by him via pencil-stabbings). The second stabbee also found other employment, possibly for the same reason. On Monday, Monson's third attorney said he would also ask for a competency examination.
Monson attended that hearing strapped to a chair.