Citizen of the Week!

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In August 2006, two Orange County men—James McGuinn and Paul Tu—drove together in the carpool lane of the southbound Interstate 405 when a habitual criminal driving a Chevy Blazer rear-ended them at 35 mph. Though damage was minimal to McGuinn’s Ford Explorer, Jamar Wendell Rivers—the Chevy driver—fled, weaving through dense, morning traffic. McGuinn tailed Rivers from the scene while Tu, the passenger, called the California Highway Patrol. A shirtless, heavily tattooed Rivers eventually took the Magnolia Street exit, turned into a BJ’s Pizza parking lot, jumped out of his car, ran up to McGuinn’s window, yanked on the locked door, pounded his fist and yelled, “You motherfucking asshole. What the fuck are you doing? I’m going to fucking kill you.” A startled McGuinn turned to Tu and said, “We’ve got to get out of here!” He quickly backed his car away and Rivers made his second escape attempt. Cops immediately nabbed him. Rivers explained that he’d been in a hurry to get his nagging girlfriend to her work.

At trial, the 25-year-old Los Angeles County man admitted that he’d been upset because McGuinn tailed him but tried this argument: the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guaranteed his free speech rights to utter his words. He also said his threats were obviously empty because he hadn’t been carrying weapons. After a five-day trial, a jury convicted Rivers for making criminal threats, attempting to dissuade witnesses from reporting a crime, hit-and-run and driving on a suspended license. Unrepentant, he took his First Amendment argument to a California Court of Appeal in Santa Ana. Led by Acting Presiding Justice William W. Bedsworth, the court recently issued a terse rejection of the defense theory. Bedsworth determined that the two victims had indeed been terrorized. For a less than a minute of stupidity, Rivers won a free trip to a California prison. It’ll be his home for six years and four months.

(Wednesdays at OCWeekly.com discover the depths of human depravity in Orange County, California.)

To read about previous winners, click here.

-- R. Scott Moxley/ OC Weekly


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6 comments
Stanley Sara15
Stanley Sara15

He is a good dude the system is corrupt and if you don't have money to pay for your criminal defense or bond the the chances of having a fair trail are slim...

el serracho
el serracho

bob,

(can i call you bob?) duly noted, the credit has been applied to your account. by the by, i only made up a new name for you because i was too lazy to try and spell your real one.

el s

Bob Squalonero
Bob Squalonero

Aw come on el BORRACHO!

Donde esta el amor/where's the love (probably down at the bottom of a bottle of tequila--along with el gusano/the worm)?

Gotta give me some credit for the "tattoo" comment (and not just the prison rape one)! ;-)

The Bolsavik
The Bolsavik

What? No description of the girlfriend?

35 mph in the car pool lane? Why bother car-pooling then?

el serracho
el serracho

well i WAS gonna make a snarky comment about how he'll be out in a year but ol' bob canyonero kinda ruined the mood. what's up with our culture's love of prison rape?

Bob Squalonero
Bob Squalonero

Looks like Jamar Rivers is gonna get a few more tats while he's in prison (that, along with becoming the "cell-block sweetheart"). ;-)

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