On Friday afternoon, Judge Patrick Robb ruled that a man could not represent himself after trying to fire his public defender, whom the defendant says he cannot associate with due to religious beliefs.
Eric Busey was charged with discharging a firearm in May of 2019, and since being appointed his public defender has requested numerous times that he be appointed a new attorney. Busey claimed that he was an ordained minister and could not associate with his defender because he believed the man was homosexual.
Busey has sent hundreds of pages worth of letters to Robb during his time at the county jail, claiming that his lawyer was trying to sabotage his case, was working with foreign banks and was trying to engage him sexually.
During his last hearing on Jan. 3, Busey was argumentative with the judge while expressing his concerns about his lawyer. Robb ordered that a mental exam be conducted on Busey during that hearing.
After receiving word from the Missouri Department of Mental Health that Busey was deemed competent enough to stand trial, Robb held another hearing to determine whether or not Busey’s request to represent himself should be granted.
Busey brought several documents to the hearing, claiming he was a sovereign citizen and did not fall under the jurisdiction of the Buchanan County Court. The man continually demanded that Robb show his law license, accused the judge of working with foreign banks, objected to numerous points of conversation and continually held a miniature American flag on his desk.
Robb gave the man an opportunity to view a waiver to dismiss his lawyer, but Busey continued to tell Robb he did not understand the documents since the court did not have jurisdiction over him.
Robb ultimately ruled that Busey would have to go to trial with his public defender since allowing him to defend himself would “deny him due process.” Robb warned the man several times that he would not be permitted to have outbursts during the trial like he had been during the hearing, and that he would be removed from the courtroom if he did not follow the court’s rules.
Prosecutor Michelle Davidson told the court she would be filing a motion to have Busey evaluated again before the trial.
“I don’t know any defender that would be able to adequately represent him in trial,” Davidson said.
Busey is scheduled for a jury trial starting Feb. 4.