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"Constitutionalist" charged with 11 count indictment
A Post rancher posted bail and was released following last Friday's arraignment on 11 counts of "simulating the legal process" a class C felonyIt apparently began with four game violations being filed against Post area rancher Jay Barnett in late 1999. After claiming to having been coerced by the presiding circuit court judge, he finally agreed to plea not guilty. Now, with that incident behind him, Barnett is once again in trouble with the court.
After being indicted on 11 counts of simulating the legal process, Barnett was arraigned on the charges last Friday. From preliminary reports, it appeared that Barnett had been unhappy with everyone concerned with his earlier court experience ... the victims in the 11 counts include nearly everyone involved.
Those on the list include Judge Gary Thompson, Judge Daniel Ahern and Judge George Nelson, Crook County District Attorney Gary Williams, a Deputy District Attorney, corrections officer in charge of the jail at the time, the police dispatcher and several other members of the local legal establishment.
Because all three of the local judges were named in the indictment, Friday's arraignment was handled by Deschutes County Circuit Court Judge Mike Sullivan. Due to claims made by the accused in the past on legal matters, the prosecutor brought in to handle the government's case was a federal prosecutor from Portland. The arraignment was conducted by way of a three-way telephone conference call.
The initial report indicates that the crime Barnett is alleged to have committed involves making mailings of documents that purport to be federal criminal complaints. One legal source, who did not wish to be identified, explained that this is a common practice of people who call themselves "Constitutionalists." Barnett has been identified in the past as one who believes in that political view. For that reason, a prosecutor from the Oregon Attorney General's office with experience dealing with Constitutionalists was brought in.
Details of the activities that brought the charges against Barnett were scarce, as the state Attorney General)s office was reluctant to discuss their case.
In the 1999 incident, Barnett, who was 41 at the time, faced four game violations: hunting antelope without proper tags, taking an antelope out of season, false application for a game tag and possession of a game animal out of season. All were misdemeanors and in March, 2000, the offender plead no contest and was sentenced to 10 days in jail. Having already spent that amount of time in the county jail while waiting trial, he was released. He was also fined $250 on a failure to appear charge.
Following Friday's arraignment, bail was set at $15,000 and Barnett posted the necessary amount and was released from custody. His request to have the next appearance in court delayed while he hired an attorney was granted and the next hearing has been set for early in June.
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