Sentencing Law, Suicide, Texas, Violence

Man Takes Razor to Throat Instead of Sentence From Judge

A couple of weeks ago, we talked about the decision by Philip Markoff, aka the Craigslist Killer, to take his own life. Today we’re seeing another version of that kind of thinking — less high-profile, less fatal, but still pretty harrowing.

The Dallas Morning News reports that a Texas man slashed his own throat — in the courtroom — after receiving a 40-year sentence for assault:

Marcial Michael Anguiano pleaded guilty to aggravated assault for cutting his niece with a butcher knife. After state District Judge Larry Mitchell announced Anguiano’s sentence, Anguiano cut himself with a razor blade.

“As soon as the judge sentenced him, I saw him do something with his right arm,” said Anguiano’s defense attorney, Juan Sanchez. “I turned and he cut himself with something he had brought into the courtroom.”

After Markoff offed himself, Professor Douglas Berman wrote on his blog, Sentencing Law and Policy, that from a utilitarian perspective we should be happy about Markoff’s suicide. But here Anguiano’s self-mutilation was a disaster, from a utilitarian point of view, for the state of Texas…

Aside from the horror of watching a man slash his own throat, it appears that all Anguiano accomplished was costing Texas a lot of money:

After cutting himself, Anguiano was rushed back into a courtroom jail cell. He was later taken from the jail on a stretcher but was talking as he left. He had bandages on his neck, and jail officials said doctors determined that Anguiano cut only muscle and did not sever any major arteries.

Man, you gotta love Texas. Guy slashes his throat — put him back in his cell! Oh yeah, and then give him some medical attention. Didn’t Anguiano know where he was? Damnit, if Texas wants you to die, you’re going to die. Don’t go trying to out-death Texas.

Meanwhile, let’s get back to the issue of men convicted of assault being able to sneak weapons into courtrooms:

The Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, which oversees the jail where Anguiano is housed, said inmates are given a razor blade to shave with each night. The blade is supposed to be picked up after it is used, said Kim Leach, spokeswoman for Sheriff Lupe Valdez.

“We’re looking into how this happened,” Leach said. “This is very rare.”…

Leach said that as the judge began pronouncing the sentence, a bailiff noticed a razor blade on Anguiano and quickly removed it. But almost simultaneously, the bailiff saw a second blade on Anguiano just as the judge was completing the sentencing. Before the bailiff could take away that blade, Anguiano, who was shackled at the legs but not handcuffed, cut himself, Leach said.

I guess one thing we can be happy about is that Anguiano turned the blade on himself, instead of using it on someone else?

Given 40 years for assault, man slits own throat in Dallas court [Dallas Morning News]

Earlier: Craigslist Killer’s Self-Imposed Death Sentence Leaves Some Unsatisfied

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