Judge Allows Gorbey to Represent Himself

Posted February 14, 2008 at 10:55am

Superior Court Judge Gregory Jackson will allow Michael Gorbey, the man arrested last month for carrying a gun near the Capitol, to represent himself at his upcoming trial. But Jackson also told Gorbey on Thursday that he is putting himself in a “precarious position” and urged Gorbey to think seriously about his decision. “Things you say can and may be used by the government against you at some later point,” Jackson said. “I would encourage you to reconsider.” Gorbey stood quietly during the proceedings, speaking only to say he understood the responsibility that comes with representing himself — although he won’t be completely alone in his defense. Public defender Jason Tulley will act as Gorbey’s standby counsel during the proceedings, able to assist during the trial. And Tulley will be in charge of collecting Gorbey’s court-related mail and delivering it to him in jail. Jackson scheduled the trial for April 21. Prosecutor Jennifer Kerkhoff said the district attorney had no immediate qualms about Gorbey’s self-defense, but asked that the rules of the court be fully explained to Gorbey prior to the trial. “The government has concern that this not turn into any forum,” Kerkhoff said. Jackson agreed, adding that there will be “much to discuss” before the trial begins. Gorbey’s next status hearing is scheduled for March 24. At that time, Kerkhoff said, the prosecution should be prepared to present its evidence to the defense, as well as hand down any further charges against Gorbey. Gorbey, 38, has pleaded not guilty to the charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. On Jan. 18, Capitol Police officers arrested Gorbey for allegedly carrying a loaded shotgun and other weapons near the Capitol. Officials also shut down several streets surrounding the Capitol complex while officers investigated a pickup truck “associated” with Gorbey to ensure that it was not an immediate threat. But further charges are considered likely after Capitol Police investigators discovered additional “hazardous materials” in the pickup truck during a follow-up investigation on Friday.