Keith Raymond McFarland’s seeming disdain for the court and the law has netted him a week in jail and three years probation at Wallowa County Circuit Court on May 3. McFarland, who has a string of motor vehicle violations, was defending himself on charges of failure to present a license and driving while suspended or revoked.
McFarland first appeared at a pretrial conference May 2 before Judge Russell B. West. The judge asked McFarland, who had waived his right to an attorney, if he had read the relevant paperwork on his waiver and said he did. When West asked if he comprehended it, McFarland said, “I don’t comprehend anything.”
West attempted to speak but McFarland interrupted, saying he didn’t see a cause of action. West again attempted to speak but McFarland overrode him saying the court’s jurisdiction was still questioned. West explained the benefits of having an attorney and telling him one would be provided if he couldn’t afford it. McFarland attempted to interrupt several times and said he still didn’t understand the cause of action on the case. He also said the court had no jurisdiction to bring the case to trial. When West asked if he still wanted to represent himself, McFarland replied, “I don’t represent myself, I present myself.” He also said it was impossible for a son of God to appear in person.
McFarland requested a trial by jury.
When the jury was seated May 3, Williams told West that McFarland told her he now wanted a trial by judge.
West apologized to the jury for the inconvenience and thanked them for their time before dismissing them. He also gave McFarland time to mull over an offer from the DA’s office.
After 15 minutes or so, West asked if he had made a decision to go to trial or accept the offer.
“I want to make it clear that I’m only here under threat, duress and coercion,” McFarland said.
“We’re not going there,” West said as he slammed down the gavel twice and McFarland again attempted to speak over him. McFarland requested more time, which the judge refused. The trial proceeded.
As William’s presented her opening statement describing McFarland being pulled over by police, McFarland attempted to object, but was told by the judge to wait. As Enterprise Police Department officer George Kohlhepp was being sworn in, McFarland continued to interrupt the proceedings, at one point objecting to Kohlhepp describing himself as a police officer.
He was overruled. He also objected to the officer saying he had witnessed the defendant driving. McFarland cross-examined.
He attempted to get Kohlhepp to define what a driver is, whether the officer was stalking him and even if he knew the definition of the word “police officer” in the penal or driving code. His line of questioning met with relevance and argumentative objections from Williams, which West sustained.
Kohlhepp testified to Williams that he was off duty when he saw McFarland driving in Enterprise, and knowing McFarland was suspended, called EPD officer Jacob Curtis to tell him of the infraction.
Curtis who issued the citation next took the stand. McFarland objected to the manner in which Curtis was sworn in.
“I would like him sworn in under pain and penalty of perjury,” the defendant said.
“He’s properly sworn in,” West said.
“You’re denying my request to have him sworn in under pain and penalty of perjury?”
The line of questioning from McFarland followed almost exactly the same line as his previous questions and were objected and sustained at the same rate.
Williams closed by reiterating the charges and reviewing the testimony of the two officers.
McFarland argued the evidence was attained on hearsay and that he was arrested without being read his rights and without a warrant and that he was also being stalked by police.
“I have heard the evidence and the testimony of the witnesses,” West said. “I find officers Curtis and Kohlhepp credible and the state has proven the misdemeanor to my satisfaction, beyond a reasonable doubt, so I’m finding you guilty of failing to carry a license.”
He also found McFarland guilty of Driving While Suspended.
West sentenced McFarland May 7. Williams offered a copy of McFarland’s driving record, which included 10 traffic violations in 2016 and 2017. She said that while the state had considered asking for probation for McFarland, court documents indicated that he wouldn’t comply with probation.
Williams instead asked for an executed sentence of 30 days in jail. McFarland said he still challenged the jurisdiction of the court and called the proceeding a simulation of legal process and said he did not consent to it.
“One word describes all of your paperwork, all of your defenses and all of your prostestations about jurisdiction: That word is nonsense,” Judge West said. “You’re displaying your disdain and noncooperation and refusal to abide by our systems of laws, I don’t know why you’re not tired of it.”
“You will go to jail because that’s the only thing you seem to understand,” West said.
He sentenced McFarland to a week in jail and three years probation with Wallowa County Community Corrections.
“The conditions are real simple,” West said. “You will abide by our laws; you will abide by our vehicle code.” He also fined the defendant $500 and ordered him to report to probation immediately upon release from jail.