A mental competency examination was ordered Tuesday for a Carlsbad foreclosure protection attorney accused of stalking people who bought his clients’ foreclosed homes.
Vista Judge Runston Maino suspended criminal proceedings in the case against Michael T. Pines. At a previous hearing, Pines told the judge of allegations of murder plots against officials and a desire to arrest a district attorney for corruption, prompting Maino to question whether Pines was “delusional.”
An attorney appointed by the judge to look into the matter recommended that Pines be evaluated to determine if the defendant can represent himself at trial.
Pines — who made national headlines for advising clients to break into their foreclosed homes and retake possession — will be back in court Oct. 28, where a different judge will decide whether the defendant is mentally competent to stand trial.
Pines, 59, had his license to practice law suspended earlier this year by the California Bar Association.
He faces 26 criminal charges, including four felony stalking counts and a misdemeanor count of falsely reporting a crime to a 911 operator. Last fall, Pines staged media events in Escondido, Carlsbad and other cities and helped clients break into their foreclosed homes.
He was arrested at least three times.