OC Courthouse Boneheaded Move of the Day!
Samer Mouwakeh: Defeated by a lazy courthouse elevator
Everyone knows traffic in Orange County is often horrible, but the biggest jams aren't always on the streets.
At times, the pedestrian traffic congestion at the elevators inside the county's Central Justice Center in Santa Ana seems worse.
But poor Samer M. Mouwakeh, 38, must not have known that sad fact.
This morning, Mouwakeh was about to faces the consequences of allegedly violating his probation in Superior Court Judge Carla Singer's courtroom when he fled the room, raced down the hallway and jumped in an elevator in apparent hopes for a speedy getaway.
Those of us who work in the courthouse are laughing because Singer's courtroom is on the 10th floor and sometimes it can take 10 or 12 minutes just to reach the ground floor via elevator.
An on-the-ball bailiff grabbed the suit-clad Mouwakeh before the elevator doors closed and wrestled him to the floor.
The defendant didn't go down quietly. His prolonged wailing could be heard through the double doors leading into Judge William Froeberg's courtroom.
At least 12 bailiffs rushed to the scene, put Mouwakeh in handcuffs and led him away.
Whatever probation violation punishment he faced won't likely compare to what Singer--a no-nonsense judge--will dish out for the stunt.
Still, the situation could have been worse. Unlike other upset defendants, at least this one didn't leap from the building to his death.
Mouwakeh had pleaded guilty to two, Jan. 2009, fire-related misdemeanors (after an arson charge was dismissed) and just needed to complete 80 hours of community service to end the matter.
Carole Levitzky, a spokesperson for the courts, said the defendant was remanded to the sheriff's department today and remains in custody with a pending $50,000 bail.
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly
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