This is a really shitty story. Last week, the US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of Ronald Strong, a 50 year old who served 7 days in jail for willfully damaging and creating a hazard and nuisance in the federal courthouse in Portland. When you gotta go, you gotta go, Strong’s crime was in not cleaning up after himself.
“The relevant question is not whether he purposefully defecated his pants, but whether he willfully spread his feces all over the bathroom resulting in a nuisance, hazard, and damage,” the majority opinion reads, finding that he did and doubting that the poop could have spread two feet up the wall by accident. The opinion also noted that Strong had a potential motive because he had twice lost a Social Security case in the same courthouse.
In his defense, Strong claimed that the cleaning lady had exaggerated the extent of the damage, and that he was so humiliated and intent on cleaning himself he wasn’t paying any mind to the condition of the bathroom. He unequivocally denied deliberately putting excrement on federal property. “I would never do that; that is so nasty. I just — I mean, I was just — trying to touching myself trying to clean myself up I was – I was grossed out, it was like just cleaning myself. I can’t imagine any human being that would deliberately smear anything of that–” he testified. “My intentions were my persons. I wasn’t thinking anything about the bathroom floor.”
Judge Juan R. Torruella takes the majority to task in a dissenting opinion, declaring “The momentous importance of this case surely forecasts its deserved place in the annals of federal prosecutorial history.”