by Sheila Gardner

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November 19, 2012
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Stalking suspect competent to stand trial, defend self

District Judge Michael Gibbons ruled Monday that disbarred attorney and convicted stalker Michael Meisler is competent to stand trial and defend himself on similar charges in Douglas County.

Gibbons issued the ruling after he received an evaluation of the 61-year-old suspect from two psychologists at the Lakes Crossing Center for the Mentally Disordered Offender where Meisler spent 38 days undergoing testing.

"The court finds he understands the charges," Gibbons said. "With his background as a lawyer, he has the knowledge to be able to represent himself."

Gibbons set a date of Jan. 15 for a four-day trial.

Meisler continued to complain to Gibbons about his accommodations at the Douglas County Jail where he has been incarcerated since his arrest Dec. 15, 2011.

Gibbons told him it was up to the jail to decide inmate housing, that the court had the authority to request that he be given supplies he needs to prepare his defense.

Gibbons agreed to allow Meisler to spend six hours a day in an office at the jail preparing his case, an increase over four hours.

Meisler objected to jail staff's ban on giving him equipment like a stapler or hole punch which authorities said could be used as a weapon.

"I have a little baby copy machine," Meisler said. "If I wanted to, I could pick it up and hit somebody in the face with it. That's not my intent."

Meisler also said incoming and outgoing mail was read, and that the small office he was given at the jail was "ravaged and ransacked" while he was at Lake's Crossing.

Gibbons requested the jail assign a staff member to examine Meisler's mail, and keep the contents confidential unless it contained material of a threatening nature.

"The general idea is Mr. Meisler should have access to normal materials of a lawyer, but he should be supervised," Gibbons said.

Gibbons told Meisler that the court has to approve any subpoenas he issues for witnesses.

"There have already been allegations that subpoenas have been misused," Gibbons said.

The judge granted Meisler's request that he be allowed to wear street clothes during proceedings.

"Maybe you'll act more like a lawyer," Gibbons said.

The criminal complaint alleges that between Nov. 15 and Dec. 14, 2011, Meisler sent multiple letters, text messages, newspaper clippings and other writings, and left messages for the woman in her home and taped to the garage.

The messages said, "Kill me if you can," "you deserve everything coming to you as a result of your callousness," "yours was a fatal decision," according to the criminal complaint.

She testified at a preliminary hearing that she was in fear for her life.

If convicted of a felony, Meisler faces up to 15 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. He also would be eligible for probation, according to court documents.

Meisler was disbarred following felony convictions and prison sentences for stalking in Florida.

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The Record Courier Updated Nov 20, 2012 02:05PM Published Nov 19, 2012 06:26PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.