Vance, who is serving a four- to 10-year sentence for arson, was accused of hitting guard Lawrence Harvey of Philadelphia in the eye on Dec. 4 as he was being returned to his cell from the exercise yard.
The inmate refused yesterday to leave the holding area when his case was called at 11 a.m. He sent word to Smyth through his attorney, John P. Gregg of Norristown, that he would not enter the courtroom unless he was allowed to summon more than the three inmates who were with him to testify in his behalf.
Instead, Smyth moved the trial to the security room, where he heard Harvey and two other guards describe the punching incident. No reporters or spectators were allowed in the room during the hourlong morning portion of the proceeding. However, court personnel said other prisoners surrounded
Vance, who faced a wall, and prevented Harvey from identifying him as the assailant.
Smyth let four of seven reporters present accompany him into the security room for the 30-minute conclusion after a lunch recess.
The judge refused to grant a request by Gregg to withdraw from the case but did grant Vance permission to act as his own lawyer. Harvey identified the inmate as the man who had struck him. Vance asked for a continuance and was refused.
Smyth declared Vance guilty after the inmate said he was not prepared and would not call the three other prisoners who had been brought as defense witnesses.
"I want it in the record that there isn't any American flag here," Vance said.
"Fine. That's in the record. And you're guilty," Smyth said.
The harassment conviction carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail. No date was set for sentencing.