Three Lawyers Found This Client to Be a Pain in the Neck

Josh Monson in a special restraining chair, surrounded by law enforcement.
Josh Monson in a special restraining chair, surrounded by law enforcement.

Josh Monson was facing trial for murder and drug charges in 2011 in Everett, Washington. Apparently unsatisfied with his defense attorney, Monson stabbed him in the neck with a pencil. That lawyer was excused from the case, and a second one was assigned.

Three days later, Monson stabbed his second attorney with a pencil.

This time court officials learned their lesson and assigned a third lawyer, while prohibiting Monson from having any writing implements. Presumably Lawyer #3 was told what happened to his two predecessors, but he happened to lay his pen down within reach of his client, who lunged for it and tried for the neck again. This time his aim was off, and he only managed to scratch his lawyer’s temple. His aim was probably hindered by the electric stun device he was wearing, which a bailiff activated when he saw Monson go for the pen.

Deciding that Monson had bagged his limit of lawyers, the judge declared he had forfeited his right to be represented by counsel, and he spent the rest of the trial strapped to a special chair. Monson objected to this, asking, “How can [the jurors] fairly judge me when they see me in a chair like this?” One hopes this was merely a rhetorical question, since the jury had just seen him tackled by police officers after attacking his attorney.

Monson ended up being convicted of first degree murder. Before being taken away, he shook hands with his most-recent attorney who, curiously enough, was nowhere near any kind of writing utensil.


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