In other news, this guy is presenting a tough issue for the magistrate judge:
Every criminal suspect has the right to remain silent, but one South Florida man may be taking that advice very literally.
Since federal charges were filed against him in May, Gerald Petion hasn't uttered a single word during any of his eight or so court appearances. He has also declined to speak to his defense lawyer.
Petion, aka Gangsta, won't even say "not guilty" in response to federal drug and weapons charges. He is accused of selling heroin linked to a man's near-fatal overdose in March in Delray Beach.
Petion, 32, of Pompano Beach and Delray Beach, doesn't misbehave in court. He complies when the deputy marshals tell him where to go and what to do. He stands up straight and doesn't look around the courtroom.
But he also doesn't answer questions from any of the judges. He doesn't make eye contact. And he seems totally unfazed by the uncomfortably long silences when people try to communicate with him.
The judge told Petion he could detect occasional "flickers" so he knew Petion could hear him.
"This is the United States of America vs. you," the judge told Petion in a polite and friendly tone. "They're not just going to go away. They're not going to fold their tents. … They'll just wait you out."
Brannon told Petion he understood it was possible that Petion's silence may not be a ploy and that perhaps he has just mentally shut down because "the situation is so awful."
But he urged Petion to listen to the doctors who will be evaluating him during the next few months and issuing another report. The judge told him to think hard about his situation before he next returns to court in late January for the next hearing on his competency.
Petion didn't respond.