The Bush Defense
McGuirk goes free
AP Springfield, OH - 1/13/2006
A defiant Sandy McGuirk was acquitted yesterday of all charges stemming from the armed robbery of a South side bank in December. The landmark decision marked the first successful use of the so-called "Bush Defense" in a criminal case.
The defense did not dispute that Mr. McGuirk in fact did point a gun in the face of bank teller Eileen Soames at 10:40 am on Dec. 15th, demand $50,000 in small bills, and drive home with the money. He was videotaped by three surveillance cameras, and identified by a dozen witnesses who testified that it was the defendant who approached Ms. Soames, brandishing a weapon and saying "Give me the money or I'll blow your f___ head off!"
In a two pronged argument, McGuirk's attorney, Robert "Genghis" Cohen, affirmed to the court that prior to the robbery he had submitted to his client a legal memo defending the legality of armed bank heists in circumstances of "extreme financial necessity."
"We are not saying that what Sandy did was not against the law," said Cohen. "We are saying that the law in this particular case does not apply to Mr. McGuirk."
"The fact is, Sandy really needed the money, and given that every precaution would be taken to avoid injury to bystanders or bank employees I advised him to go ahead with it," said Cohen.
Prosecutors objected that Mr. McGuirk could have applied for a loan to pay off his debts, rather than simply robbing the bank.
Under examination, Mr. McGuirk conceded that to have borrowed the money would have been more in line with the intent of Ohio statutes, but given the special situation of being over four months behind in his mortgage payments he had concluded that this course of action would have been "cumbersome."
"A man in my position needs the latitude to move quickly," he said. "In addition, given my credit history, I had every reason to believe that a conventional loan request would have been denied."
Reporters spoke to Mr. McGuirk following the dismissal of armed robbery charges. Asked if he planned to return the money, Mr. McGuirk appeared irritated. "Hell no," he said. "Except for legal fees the money is rightfully mine. In Cohen's opinion I don't have to pay the mortgage company either."
Mr. McGuirk added that he plans to continue robbing banks until he is satisfied that his security goals have been met.
A Springfield Gazette opinion poll was issued after the court decision was made public. Respondents were asked whether they believed armed robbery should be legal in some circumstances. 6% felt strongly that armed robbery should never be legal. 32% believed that armed robbery should be allowed in cases when it is required to protect the public. 15% thought armed robbery should never have been illegal in the first place. 47% did not understand the question.