A 22-year-old Greenwich man serving as his own attorney to fight charges of resisting arrest and breach of peace from a March 2011 incident at a Darien store was ordered to undergo a psychiatric examination Tuesday as his case was about to go to trial.
"The court cannot in good conscience allow the case to proceed to trial without an effort to determine whether the defendant is competent," Povodator said over Kim's objections.
Kim is charged with launching an expletive-laden rant at a Darien store clerk for not selling him cigarettes without identification and then pulling away from police when they came to arrest him
Throughout the 45-minute hearing, Kim, dressed in a red-and-black jacket, shuffled his 18-page motion to dismiss the charges against him and appeared by turns flustered and defiant as his court appearance wound down. Numerous times he said the judge did not understand enough about the law to continue presiding over the case and told Povodator to recuse himself from the case.
"At this stage, I cannot determine what is causing the behavior observed. But there is a high likelihood in the court's opinion that competency ... is a likely contributor. There is an unacceptable high possibility that is at least part of the problem, if not the major problem," Povodator said.
The judge said that during Kim's questioning of potential jurors last week, he kept calling Povodator a lawyer, and the judge said he doubted Kim understood the roles played by the different participants in the judicial process.
Povodator said that he suspected jurors attitudes toward Kim had been compromised, and continuing on would be a miscarriage of justice.
When Povodator told Kim that he would have to undergo the exam, Kim again resisted.
"For the record, I object," Kim said.
Assistant State's Attorney David Applegate offered no objection, saying the judge was right in declaring the mistrial.
"I agree with the court's analysis," he said. "It is the right thing to do for the sake of justice for everyone. It is not fair for Mr. Kim. It is not fair to the state and it certainly is not fair to the witnesses or the jurors to go forward in this matter."
Povodator then said he wanted a promise from Kim that he would undergo the exam voluntarily, or he would set an appearance bond for Kim or take him to jail, which would guaranteed he would be taken to Bridgeport for the exam.
After again objecting, Kim grudgingly agreed.
"I am willing, under threat, duress and coercion, to show up to the competency evaluation," he said.