Friday, November 05, 1999

Man indicted on legal-sham charge

Bogus bills allegedly sent to officials

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BATAVIA — A Clermont County grand jury has indicted a Tate Township man on 19 counts of threatening county officials with bogus paper charges that demand payment of illegal fines.

        Assistant prosecutor Daniel “Woody” Breyer said Lynne Rainelle Kirkman, 58, of Patterson Road is charged with using a sham legal process after mailing various documents to county officials, notifying them of unrecognized common-law court judgments.

        The indictment comes less than three months after an Oregonia man was convicted in Warren County Court in the first trial involving Ohio's “anti-sham” law.

        The bogus fines range from $5 million to $100 million, officials said. The documents repeatedly cite the Common Law Court of Arkansas.

        Such mailings were sent to Judge Thomas Herman of Clermont Municipal Court, municipal court Prosecutor Laura Schaffer, county Clerk of Courts David Caudill, Sheriff's Deputy Jeff Gobbi and Sheriff's Investigator Robert Evans. Mr. Kirkman also sent notification of fines against the county.

        Mr. Kirkman faces up to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine on each of the charges.

        Sheriff A.J. “Tim” Rodenberg said officers were attempting to locate Mr. Kirkman Thursday to arrest him. Mr. Kirkman did not return a message left at his home.

        “It is not unusual for these people to become hard to find. But, once we find them, they usually do not offer any resistance,” the sheriff said.

        Mr. Breyer said he expects Mr. Kirkman to be arraigned Nov. 11.

        Ohio's 1996 anti-sham law was enacted to shackle paper terrorism used by right-wing groups. Followers of common law set up their own courts and file judgments against people they think have wronged them.

        Mr. Breyer said the notifications from Mr. Kirkman, mostly sent by certified mail, began after Deputy Gobbi, on traffic patrol, stopped Mr. Kirkman Aug. 29, 1998, and cited him for having no driver's license and a lane-change violation.

        Mr. Kirkman appeared before Judge Herman, who fined him on the driver's license charge. Ms. Schaffer was the prosecutor at Mr. Kirkman's court appearance, Mr. Breyer said. Records indicate Mr. Kirkman paid an $83 fine.

        On Oct. 28, 1998, a 10- page document was received by Deputy Gobbi, Judge Herman and Ms. Schaffer charging them with contempt of the common law court.

        It was noted that the common law court is a constitutional court and therefore of higher rank than the county court, that the charges against Mr. Kirkman had been adjudicated there and that county court findings were in contempt of a higher court.

        The first test of the 1996 Ohio sham law aimed at stopping such bogus filings was in August.

        Larry Roten, 49, another follower of the common-law movement, was convicted in Warren County on charges of intimidation, retaliation and using a sham legal process. The self-appointed leader of a patriot group called Hand-to-Hand Combat Ministries was sentenced to four years in prison.

        He told the court that he did not recognize the state laws or the court system under which he was convicted.


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