Court Violation Earns 11 Months

Guy Tibbets outside of East Hampton Town Justice Court on Aug. 14 T.E. McMorrow

An East Hampton man who had agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a 4-month jail sentence got 11 months instead last Thursday and a stern warning from East Hampton Town Justice Lisa R. Rana.

Guy Tibbetts, 32, had been ordered at least twice to stay away from his ex-wife, Justina Tibbetts, and their two children. He was arrested twice in December for violating those court orders, and is facing the same misdemeanor charge, for criminal contempt, in Suffolk Criminal Court in Riverside, after another arrest in May.

After a fourth arrest, this one in Southampton Town, again for violating the order of protection, Justice Rana made clear that all bets were off for him as far as sentencing was concerned.

Mr. Tibbetts, who has been in the county jail for the last few weeks, since his latest arrest, was brought to court by Suffolk Sheriff’s Department officers.

“You’re here for sentencing. We agreed to a sentence of four months unless you had a violation, which you have had,” Justice Rana said before pronouncing the new sentence. “Eleven months incarceration. You’re going to go in, you’re going to come out. You have 11 months to think about how you live your life. How old are you?”

“Thirty-two.”

“You’re wasting your life. You’ve got to take a strong, hard look at the people in your life. If there is somebody that is going to lead you down the wrong road, you’ve got to tell them, ‘you’re not a part of my life any more.’ Those people are going to take you down. You have 11 months to think about it.”

Mr. Tibbetts was taken from the courthouse and transported to Yaphank.Also last Thursday, a retired New York City firefighter argued for the right to act as his own attorney and defend himself against a misdemeanor charge of endangering the welfare of a child.

Guy Jordan of Manhattan, 45, had been arraigned by Justice Rana on July 12 following his arrest the night before in Hither Hills State Park, Montauk. Suffolk County Park Police said he had struck his 12-year old daughter in the face, “causing pain and minor swelling.” He was freed on $350 bail and was expected to show up with an attorney at his return to court, but instead requested to represent himself during his trial.

“You have been charged with a very serious crime, a misdemeanor. I strongly advise you to reconsider. You are not versed in the law,” Justice Rana said.

“I choose not to have an attorney. That is my right,” Mr. Jordan answered. She then told him that before he could proceed on his own, he would have to prove to her that he understood the law well enough to provide an adequate defense. “Your honor, I want the court to understand that I will represent myself,” he repeated. “That is not an unqualified right. You don’t even know what the rules of evidence are,” Justice Rana told him, after a prolonged exchange on the law. She then offered to adjourn the case for a few weeks, to allow him to study the law or hire an attorney.

The defendant said that this was his fifth arrest. “I have represented myself four times. I’ve gotten four acquittals,” he said.

Justice Rana issued an order of protection for the 12-year-old, who lives with Mr. Jordan’s ex-wife, subject to modification by family court in terms of visitation rights. She adjourned the case until Sept. 11. Mr. Jordan objected to that date because of its significance and was given Sept. 25 instead.

As he was leaving the courthouse, he said he had been at the World Trade Center after its collapse, with Engine Company 71 of the South Bronx. He retired from the Fire Department five years ago, he said.