I got an email this morning subject line: Urgent. It was a lead for JJC. I bit. Oy Vey. Get ready for this one — a dirty dirty opinion outta the First Circuit. NOT for the easy-queasy.
A man with not very strong bowels, ironically named Strong, entered federal court in maine to do sum bidness.
He realized in line for security that he was pooping his pants. Suffice to say, the man has some medical issues. The deputy rushed him to the bathroom wherein he had explosive diarrhea. We are not talking about some watery poop in the toilet people. We are talking about something like “spilled spaghetti sauce and there’s meat” as far as the eye can see. Poop in the toilet. Poop on the walls. Poop on the floor. Poop on the dispensers. Poop. Poop. And more Poop. Now, Strong disputed the strength of the explosion. He said there were exaggerations about the placement of the feces, that it was entirely unintentional, and the mess came from his failed attempts to clean up after himself.
This poor man not only suffered the humiliation of publicly pooping his pants, having explosive diarrhea, but then, he was charged with three federal crimes (willfully damaging federal property, creating a nuisance on federal property, creating a hazard on federal property),was convicted after a bench trial (you don’t have the right to a j/t when you poop your pants) (kidding, when max sentence is 6 months) and was sentenced to 7 days in jail.
On appeal, the 1st Circuit upheld his conviction finding there was sufficient evidence. It goes without saying that it was undisputed that there was sufficient poop. The question on appeal was whether there was sufficient evidence that this poor guy was acting willfully. There was also dispute over whether the government needed to prove willfulness or knowledge for two of three crimes. That’s neither here nor there. At the end of the day a dude walked into a court house, had explosive diarrhea and then got sentenced to 7 days in jail for said diarrhea. Not what Pooh Bear envisioned when he talks about the rumblies in his tumblies.
The majority noted that this guy lost his social security benefits case so he had a motive. I did some digging after a coworker aptly noted that this explosive diarrhea issue or underlying medical issue that caused it (he said it was because of heart medication?) may or may not have been the basis of his benefits claim. Because, if so, I’d say he’s got a good appeal for a denial of benefits. Alas, the claim was for benefits for a child.
In any event, the majority’s logic goes like this: guy with a grudge has explosive diarrhea which they say may very well have been unexpected and not willful. Guy goes to bathroom. Guy gets a brilliant idea:
“I am going to capitalize on this moment where I have explosive diarrhea everywhere including all over my clothes, and I’m going to smear it all over the walls and bathroom to get back at dem feds for denying my child social security benefits. That’ll teach em!” I mean. to me, it seams like a stretch. But, apparently not to dem judges.
Well, at least two of them. The dissenter not only came out on the right, just, side, he did so funnily. Here are a few highlights:
“The momentous importance of this case surely forecasts its deserved place in the annals of federal prosecutorial history. Before us is an appeal from a conviction of a citizen who was prosecuted for soiling federal property after he had the misfortune of involuntarily losing control of his bowels while on the premises of the United States District Court for the District of Maine.” [emphasis on funny words added.]
“Strong’s sufficiency-of-the-evidence claim is unpreserved, so he must establish plain error, and the evidence is reviewed to determine if there was “clear and gross injustice.” United States v. Hicks, 575 F.3d 130, 139 (1st. Cir. 2009) (quoting United States v. Gobbi, 471 F.3d 302, 309 ( 1st. Cir. 2006)) (internal quotation mark omitted); see also United States v. Concemi, 957 F.2d 942, 950 1st. Cir. 1992).” [emphasis of funny words added.]