The preliminary hearing for former attorney Michael T. Pines was suspended on Friday, August 26, and a subpoenaed witness — San Diego County district attorney Bonnie Dumanis — did not make an appearance.
Instead, superior-court judge Runston Maino ordered all parties back for a hearing in one week, during which the judge will decide if the defendant needs a mental competency hearing. The judge ordered a public defender be assigned to Pines, who represented himself on Friday.
Before he halted the hearing, Judge Maino listened to Pines speak on his own behalf for more than 45 minutes. Pines confirmed that he intends to produce a Hollywood movie and distribute it through Netflix.
“I’m hearing a lot of rambling,” said Judge Maino. The judge said he heard Pines say things “that defy common sense” and found that Pines was “non-responsive” to his questions; that Pines “cannot focus” on points of law.
At one point, Pines seemed to suggest that the attorney general of the State of Arizona would represent him.
“It’s disturbing, Mr. Pines, some of the things you’re telling me,” said Maino. Pines spoke of conspiracies and murder plots against judges and attorneys.
“He has murder plots that are abounding,” confirmed prosecutor James Romo.
Pines is charged with 5 felonies and 20 misdemeanors. The prosecutor alleges felony stalking and harassment of two persons who moved into a home they purchased after Pines’s clients were forced out of the same home in a foreclosure.
The California State Bar declared Pines “not eligible to practice law” in May of this year.
The next hearing for Pines is scheduled for Friday, September 2, at the Vista courthouse.
The subject of this piece, Michael T. Pines, is not to be confused with Michael Pines, a San Diego attorney.
Pictured: Judge Runston Maino
Photo credit: Nick Morris