Bizarre court appearance for “Super Dell” Schanze ends with him in handcuffs

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SALT  LAKE CITY -- A federal court appearance for former TV pitchman and one-time gubernatorial candidate "Super Dell" Schanze took a bizarre twist when he interrupted another defendant's hearing and ended up in handcuffs.

Schanze is facing federal misdemeanor charges of using an aircraft to harass wildlife and pursuing a migratory bird stemming from a 2011 incident where someone on a powerglider chased an owl and kicked it. A video of the incident surfaced on YouTube, prompting a federal investigation.

On his way into court on Thursday, Schanze refused to comment on the charges.

"Not to you guys," he told FOX 13. "You guys are evil. Stop lying."

Schanze was to make an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells.

As he waited to be called, she was handling another defendant's case, imposing routine pre-trial conditions of release.

Schanze then stood in the courtroom.

"Your honor, may I address you?" he said. "That's totally unconstitutional."

"Sit down," Judge Wells said.

Schanze continued to address the judge as U.S. Marshals in the courtroom swarmed him.

"That's totally not cool!" Schanze protested.

"Take him into custody, please," Judge Wells snapped as he was handcuffed and led into a side-room. "Sir, when you're prepared to behave yourself in court, we'll call your case."

A few minutes later, Schanze was brought back into the courtroom, still in handcuffs.

"I would move to dismiss the case," he told the court. "It's all based on a fake YouTube video."

Judge Wells refused and attempted to find out if Schanze had the money to hire a lawyer. He argued with her over his family's income.

"I'm not going to play these games," Judge Wells said, losing patience. "I advise you to be quiet now or I will have you taken and further confined. Do you understand?"

"Yes," he replied.

Judge Wells appointed a public defender to represent him. She read the charges and asked him to enter a plea.

"Not guilty," Schanze told her.

A one-day trial was set for Feb. 17, 2015.

The judge asked prosecutors whether Schanze, who was seated in handcuffs, should be released.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for Utah noted the previous charges that have been filed against him but said they didn't mind, so long as conditions were set -- including the removal of firearms from his home. Schanze objected as his lawyer attempted to silence him, saying: "I won those cases!"Judge Wells said she was not going to release Schanze unless firearms were removed.

His attorney, Kent Hart, said Schanze had passionate feelings about the Second Amendment but after a few minutes discussing it with his client that he would surrender guns.

Judge Wells abruptly ended the hearing, setting another hearing later in the afternoon to discuss whether he would be released from custody.

At that hearing, Schanze was more contrite as Judge Wells announced she would allow him to be released with conditions. He must surrender his passport, firearms and undergo a mental health evaluation and take any recommended treatment or medications.

"I make that finding based on your behavior and your previous history of firearms possession and threats made with firearms," the judge said.

Schanze left the courthouse with his wife a short time later, avoiding TV cameras outside.

Schanze gained fame for his TV commercials pitching his computer retail chain, Totally Awesome Computers. He also ran as the Libertarian candidate for governor.


  • matt cummings

    I have no compassion for this guy. I know about him from the powered paragliding community. But the thing I do have a problem with, that I do take sides with him is the removal of fire arms from his home. that is just goverment bullying people, and a chance for them to get ahold of somebody’s guns. They don’t want anybody to hae guns. If he truly did win his other case, and he’s not being accused of a violent act involving a gun, what happened to innocent till proven guilty. this is just a judge who got pissed off at him, so she is going to abuse her authority. what better way for a woman judge to imasculate a man tan by taking away his guns. this is a blatant abuse if power and it makes me sick. our constitution is going down the toilet. I feel this country is on its last legs.

      • laytonian

        @Bob – based on his interjection into a case that had nothing to do with him AND his well-known affinity for showing off, the judge’s action in insuring there are no guns in his home prior to trial and mental evaluation, is both legal AND wise.
        SCOTUS Justice Alioto agrees with me.
        ““Yes, there are some limitations that can be imposed,” he said. “What they are will depend on what the society understood was reasonable limitation” when the Constitution was written. He cited, for example, a misdemeanor at the time, of carrying a frightening looking weapon such as a “head ax”.”

      • Anon

        I left SLTrib because of posters like you Laytonian and you just show up here. You know nothing about this case or Dell Shanzi yet you have condemned him already. You are the worst kind of American.

    • Ranger Tom Carpenter

      Matt Cummings, your comments about our, and Dell’s, Second Amendment rights have been unjustly violated. I too know Dell from the PPG experiences/community and I have found him to honest and caring in his business and customers. He is innocent until proven otherwise. I would not put it past those who want Dell out of the powered paraglider business competition, to fabricate accusations against him and to set him up with an edited youtube. The owl stomp video is pretty convincing but lets give Dell the benefit of doubt. As we mature, we all learn things the hard way. The owl appeared uninjured. Many of us in the “Low and Slow” flying community often do foolish things and we are sometimes a little wild. Few, if any of use endorse any type of bulling … wild life or any type. I try to learn from my mistakes as do most people. Guilty or not, I bet Dell will treat all wildlife with a new and kinder respect.

    • Cindy

      They almost always remove firearms for the safety of everyone involved. His behavior is getting more and more bizarre and he needs to be evaluated.

  • Concerned

    I’ve met him before at a family get together. He’s not related to me by blood though. Seems like he has Asperger’s, or High Functioning Autism. It’s not a bad thing if he has it. He does need some help handling it if that’s what he has. He is a nice guy, fun to talk to and definitely loony.

  • bob

    This guy is like a case of herpes. He keeps coming back.

    Removing firearms, though……why? By what authority? When he’s on trial for a violent felony, at least, then we’ll talk.

    • Kdc

      I agree Bob. Don’t care for the guy, but to seize his guns on the basis of his prior arrest (that he was later acquited of) and a mental condition (which he may or may not have) is unconstitutional in my mind. If I was him I would have refused this condition and rather gone to jail pending my trial. Now that he’s given them up, he’ll never get them back.

  • bob

    His claim that the YouTube video is “fake” won’t fly. He’s on record trying to defend his actions in the video. He never claimed that he didn’t do it.

  • Steve

    Some of you guys know about the PPG student who is DEAD because of his stupidity as an instructor, and yet you still defend him! UNBELIEVABLE!!

    • Jay Rarrard

      Should you be judged for every stupid thing you have done in your life? These charges have nothing to do with his PPG student dying.

      • Steve

        In case you haven’t noticed, STUPIDITY and ARROGANCE are continuously ongoing with this guy. Google his name name, do a little reading, and then tell me what you think.

  • Suzanne

    Schanze is mentally unstable. The judge was right to order a mental health evaluation and the removal of firearms from his home.

  • Brookside

    This shnatze is a mental bafoon. I know he got his firearms removed from his home, which, I opposed originally, but, now seeing how this stooge acts, he needs some padded mittens when he’s around people.

  • Brookside

    This minion is a stooge. Every time is makes the papers it’s because of something stupid and something his parents are ashamed of. Way to go zippy.

  • JMC

    I live next door to “Super Dell” Schanze, and I’m also close personal friends with his daughter. I’ve spoken with him many times, and while the man’s a real character, I truly believe that he’s a harmless one. He’s a good man, trying to do the right thing for his family, his community, and his own personal well being.
    The only real issue Del has is that he lacks the ability to tell when he should stop talking. Sometimes he’ll say things that leave people thinking “did he really just say that…” Because of this, people often misunderstand him. The media has crucified him over and over, portraying honest mistakes as deliberate cruelty, and often treating him with a kind of mockery he frankly doesn’t deserve.
    He and his family are all good people, who’ve been severely bullied for how the media has chosen to portray him. Given all that, I’m not surprised that he thinks they’re evil.

    • Steve

      Tell this to the widow of the student pilot that died. Tell this to all the guys that used to have a place to fly from until Schatze came along and screwed it up for everybody.

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