Vigilante Justice: Dr. Moody

Vigilante Justice: Dr. Moody

"I pulled up. I saw that my driveway was blocked. The driver of the vehicle blocking the driveway did not respond, and I noticed that the car in front of that automobile was moving out, so I said, ‘Here's a great time to leave my car and ask the driver to move forward. He expressed that he was not about to do anything but harm me. He had no good intention," narrates Dr. William Moody. "He didn't want to talk; he wanted to get physical. While I was speaking, he cursed at me and used the N-word. He spit at me with so much sputum, I thought I was in the shower."

The dentist fought tooth and nail for his parking space. "I got into his car and moved it forward, and he hit me right on the right side of my head. When he hit me, I got out of his car. As I turned to remove my jacket, that's when I noticed the cameraman. So I turned and continued in that direction to block the view because I was embarrassed. I didn't know how to respond."

Footage shows Dr. Moody placing his hand over the cameraman's lens, and a news reporter shouting to nearby police officers for help.

"Then [the driver's sister] Yolanda appeared and just sprang at me like a leopard. She came racing at me. I mean, she was intent on doing bodily harm," Dr. Moody recounts. "That's when I put my hand up to block her. She went down as she ran into my hand. She tripped over herself and fell. All of a sudden, I felt another blow to the side of my jaw. Somebody grabbed me from behind. After that, I'm in handcuffs. I was put in some kind of a neckhold, and cuffed and taken away by the police after I was attacked physically and verbally. I felt like my constitutional rights were just stripped and buried at that time."

Dr. Moody has been charged with a misdemeanor and aggravated harassment. He is joined by his lawyer, Gary Jenkins.

 

Dr. Phil addresses the dentist. "Why were you so upset? You say they were offensive to you with their words and deeds, but you were the one who got out of your car," he observes.

"I got out of my car to point out to [the other driver], â€˜Now you can move. You see the car is moving,'" Dr. Moody explains. "At that time, things went awry. That film did not show everything. That film did not show the fervor, the intent, the bad intention that [his sister, Yolanda] had. The film did not show that she was held back by two men on that third incident."

"Listen, I have no interest, whatsoever, in stacking this deck with editing, or whatever. So I do have the raw footage " all of it," Dr. Phil assures Dr. Moody. "Let's just take a look at the whole thing."

After the taped piece ends, Dr. Phil says, "That's all the footage there is. That's everything that's there." He turns to Gary. "You're the doctor's attorney. What do you say about this?"

"There was no one who was injured. The footage showed that my client was attacked first. It's indefensible that she would come and push him. You saw that on the film. He responded after being attacked," Gary replies. "Had that not been on tape, we don't believe there would be a current pending charge of an assault three misdemeanor, punishable by a year in jail, when there was no physical injury."

"But you got out of your car," Dr. Phil reminds Dr. Moody.

 

"Yes. Is there something wrong with getting out of my car?" he asks.

 

"Yes! It's a parking spot. Make the block and come back. You could have been killed," Dr. Phil stresses. "You've worked hard all your life. You're a dentist. Your hands are important to you."

 

He turns to Gary. "Have you told him in private, 'You don't need to be getting out of your car'?"

 

"Yes," the lawyer replies. "I think if you proceed further with the line of questioning that you're on, you'll see that the doctor certainly has some regrets."

  

Dr. Moody clarifies his position. "That was not an argument over a parking space, number one. They were blocking the driveway so that I couldn't get in to get to work," he tells Dr. Phil. "Number two, when I was pushed several times by Yolanda after she attacked me, after her brother attacked me, the thing that went through my mind " you said, wasn't I afraid of being hurt? " Yes, I was certainly afraid of getting hurt."

Dr. Phil attempts to reason with the dentist. "Isn't it true that you could have waited a few minutes?" he asks. "Obviously, there were police officers around. Isn't it true that you could have flagged one down and said, 'This guy is illegally parked. I can't get to work. Move him'? Isn't it true that there were a number of alternatives besides jumping out of your car, and going up and jerking a guy out of his car, and getting in it and moving it yourself?"

 

"I wanted to get to work. I had a job to do, and it was not over a parking space," Dr. Moody maintains. "I wanted them to move forward so I could get to work and continue to make a living for my three children. They are my heart and joy."

 

"Listen, I spent 15 years working as a litigation consultant. I don't believe that story is going to fly," Dr. Phil says.

 

"Did my client have a right to defend himself when that lady ran up and put her hands on him? If he didn't have a right, he's guilty," Gary insists.

Dr. Moody told Dr. Phil producers that Luis, the other driver, punched him on the right side of his head. Dr. Phil re-examines the videotape for the veracity of that statement.  

 

"Those were two punches. If somebody punched you twice, what would you do, sir?" Dr. Moody asks.

 

"They'd be punching me through the window of my car because I wouldn't get out. But I'm from Texas!" Dr. Phil makes clear. "You said there were two punches to the right side of your head, but that was to the left side of your head."

 

"OK, left side of my head," Dr. Moody concedes.

 

"I want to help you work this out. You also said [Yolanda] fell down from her own energy against your right hand," Dr. Phil points out.

 

As they watch the videotape, Gary chimes in. "That was an assault in any textbook, in any law school, in any court. She put her hands on my client first. Now the question is: Does he have the right to ward off another attack?"

 

The videotape begins again, and Dr. Phil tells the dentist, "You clearly pushed her to the ground."

 

"Did he overreact? Did he go over and above the right to defend himself? That's the question," Gary interjects. "But if she attacked him first, we have to spend more time on that issue."

Dr. Phil tries to get to the root of the problem. "This was a traffic situation, and your client started the ball rolling by getting out of his car, did he not?" he asks Gary.

 

The lawyer replies, "Yes, he did."

 

"But for him getting out of the car and having a confrontation with the other driver, would this have happened?"

 

"Let me ask you a question, Dr. Phil. Anybody in the audience can answer it too. If somebody is blocking your driveway in your home, would you get out of your car and say, 'Excuse me, buddy. Move your car'?"

 

A resounding no goes up from the audience.

 

"Let me tell you. I'm as peaceful a guy as you ever want to meet, but you don't ever want to open my car door and drag me out of it," Dr. Phil warns.