Competence on Trial: The Strange Odyssey of Serial Dallas Lawsuit Filer Lester Ruston

Categories: Crime, The Courts

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Via Gawker
Every decent-sized courthouse in the country has its own serial pain in the ass, the guy who thinks nothing of suing the kids who threw a ball over his fence or the cat who pooped in his yard. But there's a special subset of filing addicts: the inmates who while away their time in the pokey filing kooky pro se motions against Oprah, the CIA and Jesus. They undoubtedly belong in the hands of competent mental health professionals, but until our prison system learns how to deal appropriately with mental illness, we have stories like that of Lester Jon Ruston: a Dallas man crazy enough to believe that Katie Couric is stalking him yet just sane enough to file hundreds of often-coherent of lawsuits against seemingly everyone he's ever met.

Ruston's trouble with the law began in May 2004, when he was charged with threatening to kill North Texas magistrate judge Irma Ramirez. He had left her what court documents called a "rambling and profane" voicemail, telling her to "look out her window at the black helicopters circling her building from the U.S. Navy" and accusing her "of sending a Marine to to try to murder [the caller] for George Bush." He told the judge that next week she would be taken to Scotland, walked up a plank with a rope around her neck and "stretched from a red neck to a long neck." He gave her 24 hours to resign, uttered the word "die" several times and repeatedly called her a "'fucking whore' and a 'fucking cunt.'"

The call was traced back to room 102 of the Royal Inn in Carrollton, where Ruston had stayed for three days, including the night the call was placed. Ramirez told investigators that she knew Ruston's name. He was a "frequent filer" of suits in her court -- including ones against Dallas County, Bush and the city of Carrollton. In 2001, Ruston had been accused him of making threats against a Secret Service agent named Jeff Elmore. When he was arrested, Ruston was in the process of attempting to load a crossbow with "metal bolts to fire at the SS agents," records show.

Ruston was arrested in May 2004 for the threats against Ramirez. He readily admitted that he had left the message but claimed he would never actually try to hurt her. In initial hearings after his arrest, though, Ruston claimed again that Ramirez was trying to help cover up a murder-for-hire plot against him.

In May of 2005, a forensic psychologist with the U.S. Bureau of prisons testified at a competency hearing that Ruston suffered from mental illness, "specifically delusional disorder prosecutorial type." But by September of 2006, he was somehow judged competent to stand trial. The doctor who'd last examined him, James Wolfson, urged the court to prosecute the case quickly, because he wasn't sure how long Ruston's sense-making would actually last. By mid-October 2006, Ruston had been found not guilty by reason of insanity and ordered back into a mental institution.

But they hadn't heard the last of him. In February 2007, Ruston demanded to represent himself in his appeals, and a magistrate judge again somehow found that he was competent to do so. At that hearing, Ruston told the court: "I've been competent since the day I was arrested. I have a stack of medical records that have been suppressed this entire case that show no mental illness and complete competence."

A month later, Ruston headed into a hearing on whether he could be released. Wolfson, the doctor, told the court that he believed Ruston suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, was refusing medication and wouldn't accept a mental illness diagnosis. When Ruston cross-examined Wolfson, he asked him whether the doctor was aware that the duties of a magistrate judge include conspiracy to commit murder, if Wolson had contact with the Secret Service and if he had looked into Ruston's lineage to see if he was descended from Scottish royalty.

That line of questioning aside, the strongest continuing evidence of Ruston's mental illness lies in the many pro se motions he filed -- various petitions to the court that Ruston has penned on his own behalf since the first year of his incarceration. Among his 2007 motions was one alleging that Wolfson had been "tampered with" by Katie Couric. In 2007, Wolfson said, Ruston's filings were, on the whole, "getting a little stranger than what they had been before."

Overall, Ruston has filed about 115 motions in his seven years as an inmate. He's filed motions against the FBI and Secret Service, Wolfson, seemingly everyone in the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the Plano ISD. Board of Trustees, and, of course, Bush. Pro se motions cost money, but he was able to get paying by filing them in forma pauperis, Latin for "I need to do this on the cheap."

In June of 2007, Ruston made Office of Court Administration's list of Vexatious Litigants, and was barred from filing any more suits against the City of Plano, the Dallas Police Department or the Dallas City Attorney's office. He's also barred from filing any more pro se motions in forma pauperis unless he's "in imminent danger of serious physical injury." We're just not sure that will discourage him.

Ruston remains incarcerated at a low-security federal correction facility in Seagoville. Late last month, more than seven years after his arrest, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals denied yet another appeal, in which he disputed his lack of competency and asked to be freed from custody. The same week, he sent the Observer a letter that featured, among other things, a photograph of an elephant with Katie Couric's head pasted on to the body and cartoon strips onto which he'd added his own speech bubbles, mostly with the characters repeating various combinations of the words "cunt" and "faggot."

That same week, we spoke with a secretary who works for a local judge. She told us that their office still gets a lot of mail from Ruston. Most of it, she said, bears his trademark slogan along the bottom each page: "Don't mess with Les."

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22 comments
ajain31
ajain31

You or I do not have ANY control over Federal taxes. What all pay into Federal taxes is FIXED. We can not change it ANYWAY. If people understand that then it is easy to understand that some States are donor states and some states are recipient states. Most of the Southern States are recipient states by virtue of what they pay INTO Federal taxes (which is LESS) and what they receive as Federal support (which is MORE). 

No state can change the State donor role or State recipient role overnight. Most Republican Governors are just loosing out in that they are refusing the Federal largess (the Federal handout) on Medicaid Expansion because Believe it or not IT IS A FACT: If states choose to expand Medicaid, the federal government will cover 100 percent of the costs from 2014 to 2016. The feds' contribution will begin to decrease in 2017, but will never be less than 90 percent, under the ACA also known as Obamacare. 

So people opposing Medicaid Expansion can cry foul till their cows come back home but they will with their State be the looser in the long run. If history is correct it all started the same way for the very well established system of Medicare in this nation. 

(Check it out!) Many states refused to accept Medicare in the 60's as a way of doing business just like they are rejecting Medicaid expansion under Obamacare a.k.a. ACA (Affordable Care ACT) but in the long run when Reagan got tired of appearing in anti-Medicare Ads all over the country Medicare was established as the way of doing business (taking care of our elder population's medical needs) and to this day it is an accepted wise and affordable way of supporting our Seniors. 

Mark my words in less than a decade i.e. by 2023 Medicaid Expansion will be the accepted norm all over the country and NOT the EXCEPTION. You and I can not beat the economics of fairness. Try your best but within this decade either Governors who accept Medicaid Expansion will be elected or Governors who reject Medicaid Expansion will be DEFEATED. 

And if Medicare is any example MEDICAID will go the same rout. I repeat, Mark my words in less than a decade i.e. by 2023 Medicaid Expansion will be the accepted norm all over the country. And I am saying that proudly as I do not find the need to hide my identity behind pseudonyms.

People opposing Medicaid Expansion have access to Google.com and I believe they are intelligent people. Check it out: IT IS A FACT: If states choose to expand Medicaid, the federal government will cover 100 percent of the costs from 2014 to 2016. The feds' contribution will begin to decrease in 2017, but will never be less than 90 percent, under the ACA.

That's why I created a petition to Governor Rick Perry, Texas Governor, The Texas State House, The Texas State Senate, and Governor Rick Perry, which says:

"Please ACCEPT the FREE EXPANSION of MEDICAID under The Affordable Care ACT."

Will you sign this petition? Click here:
http://signon.org/sign/accept-free-expansion?source=c.em.cp&r_by=7268737

Thanks!

Ajay Jain
ajain31@gmail.com
Twitter Handle @ajain31.
Mobile: 214-207-9781

Naturallighta50
Naturallighta50

I don't know why people think they have the right to judge someone else. Live a day in the life of that person, or walk a mile in their shoes. Also before you start asking someone else to change look in the mirror and recognize you're own problems! And if you think you don't have your own problems well then you're really lost. "some people just can't see the Forrest through the tree's"....

Xmas Elf
Xmas Elf

I'm a former elf that use to help Les deliver presents, that he provided, to inner city children whom otherwise wouldn't receive any presents on Christmas. He was a good man that was dealt a bad hand. Get over it.

Ribbed
Ribbed

Ice and I used to date Les's sister, and Les seemed like an alright guy. However I do remember his younger brother seemed like he was hitting on me but I never wanted to say anything. Word to yo mutha, peace!

Class of 79'
Class of 79'

I remember the two brothers back in high school, and as I recal the younger brother was supremely gay...

Stranger
Stranger

I don't remember too much about les, but his brother was gay!

Freba633
Freba633

You should be ashamed for making fun of a sick person,It is not funny.A mind getting sickis no different from the body getting sick.God love's Les just the same as any one.

Freba633
Freba633

Les Ruston is my former son in law.he was a wonderful,smart man who had a very goodjob before he went crazy.he is on several Walker Texas ranger TV shows.

Anonymous for obvious reasons
Anonymous for obvious reasons

I preferred when he was in another state. I am on the hate list and have been named in several of his rediculous law suits. Too many drugs and a serious chemical imbalance will land you in this situation, I'm afraid. He is very dangerous and needs to remain locked up for the balance of his life.

Freba633
Freba633

We revived a letter from Les yesterday,it was sweet and sane,He has access to theinternet,but doesn't know about the paper writing this.I would prefer he didn't know.butI do wish he knew about his father defending him.He is like a father to some of theyounger prisoners.Les is very smart,he is just sick.I would like to sue this paper my selfsome groups for the mentally ill would.  

Freba633
Freba633

That is true.I know because I bought Les the Santa Suit.

Dead Dog
Dead Dog

I'm Les's younger brother's exwife's dead dog. I use to only be a blind dog until Les's brother murdered me for being blind. I use to love that man and he murdered me for being blind..WTF??!!

Freba633
Freba633

I know both of them and that is a down right lie.

Victor J. Ruston
Victor J. Ruston

Well, all you critics of Les, I am his father along with five other kids. He was treated no better, no worse than the others. I took him to church, I coached him at soccer in a local league, I attended his high school games, I warmed his son up when he was pitching in a local youth league and caught footballs when he was warming up as a quarterback. Les was a fantastic salesperson, won all kinds of awards. Who is to know what turned him in the wrong direction? I know it started at his son's high school when Brett was treated unfairly (real or imagined), and Les confronted the Principal and when he got no satisfaction he went to the school board where he also got no satisfaction! He was a father defending his son!!! All you people ready to condemn him, would you have not done the same for your child??? I certainly hope that when you stand before God to be judged, that He will be a whole lot more tolerant that you are!!! When I say this I am addressing ALL of you, not just Freba633, whoever you may be. I did the best I could for my kids while moving from one country to another, one state to another, earning the money to provide for my family, and not being able to give them the individual attention they needed! I have four children that still love me to one degree or another, one that hates the very ground I walk on and Les. I also hope and pray that the Lord will forgive me my shortcomings when I stand before Him and certainly hope that you will all learn to be more tolerant of your fellow man. Christ came and died for mankind and took upon Himself our sins, try and remember that before you jump on the blame bandwagon. I freely admit that I bear much of the blame for what Les has become. Jim Ruston

Funshaz
Funshaz

Les is my brother. He has always been strange, and our father bears a healthy dose of blame for his mental health problems. by the time he did a few stand-ins for Walker Texas Ranger, his delusion had grown such that he believed he was a major part of that program and signed his name with Walker Texas Ranger following it. I would like to know who decided to take him out of an institution for the mentally ill and put him in a minimum security facility so close to people he has threatened!!  ?  Only his son can say whether he was a good father...IMO. He's too ill to know what is good, and what is not. Sadly.

Freba633
Freba633

Don't worry about it.I have been one of his victims also.

Freba633
Freba633

Les is my former son in law.he was a good man and Father before he went crazy.I know who you are.LOL

Freba633
Freba633

Mr.Ruston,Children like to blame there parents  for everything,you raised a wonderful family.Just tell people that let him who is with out sin cast the first stone.your Childrenall turned out to be fine Adults that any parent would be proud of.Les is sick and making fun of him is no different than making fun of a person with cancer.May God bless youand all your children. 

Freba633
Freba633

Yes I know you and you know me.I feel sorry for Les,but I am afraid of him.It is really sad.

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