Posted by Nick Matzke on July 19, 2006 02:20 AM

Well, I’ll give Dr. Dino this: at least he is consistent in his wackiness. The latest from the Pensacola News-Journal:

Hovind’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Kafahni Nkrumah, told U.S. Magistrate Judge Miles Davis at a hearing Monday that his client did not want to enter a plea because he does not believe the United States, the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Attorney’s Office “have jurisdiction in this matter.”

When pressed by Davis to enter a plea of either guilty or not guilty, Hovind said he wished to enter a plea of “subornation of false muster.”

“Subornation,” according to Webster’s Dictionary, means instigating another to do something illegal. “Muster” is an assembly, often for inspection or roll call.

When pressed by Davis, Hovind said he was entering a not guilty plea “under duress.”

First, I would just like to say that everyone here at PT would like to express their sympathies to the public defender assigned to Hovind. I suppose public defenders see all sorts of weird things, but Hovind will be a handful.

I attempted to gain a little more insight on what “subornation of false muster” is supposed to be – the poor reporter was obviously struggling. The Pensacola News-Journal‘s columnist, who was at the hearing, said it was “a defense I haven’t heard in 30 years of hanging around courtrooms.”

I googled the phrase (as did the columnist). There is but one hit – to an appeals case in Washington state. The decision has something to do with a guy, Michael Didier, who was evidently trying to avoid a conviction for burglary and violation of a restraining order to keep him away from his separated wife. The rationale?

Mr. Didier considers himself a ‘citizen of heaven’ rather than a U.S. citizen and works with Remedies at Law, 3 Report of Proceedings (RP) (May 19, 2005) at 381, which he describes as an ‘ecclesiastical law firm’ staffed by non-bar members. 3 RP at 380. Mr. Didier’s wife, Judith Didier, petitioned for legal separation. On December 29, 2004, a Pierce County Superior Court Commissioner Pro Tempore granted a temporary order that, inter alia, ordered Mr. Didier to vacate the family home at noon on January 2, 2005, and restrained both parties from ‘molesting or disturbing the peace’ of the other or from ‘entering the home’ of the other. Ex. 1. Mr. Didier attended the hearing without a lawyer, challenging the jurisdiction of the court and filing a pleading [1] based on his understanding of religious and constitutional law that asserted claims against those that he saw as interfering in his family and marriage. Mr. Didier was present when the commissioner announced and signed the temporary order; Ms. Didier’s lawyer also served him with a copy that same day.

[…]

On January 8, 2005, while Mr. Didier was away, Ms. Didier, accompanied by relatives and friends, re-entered the home and hired a locksmith to change the locks. Before the locksmith could do so, however, Mr. Didier returned. Seeing his car, Ms. Didier hid in the bathroom while her friends locked the doors. Mr. Didier entered through a window, telling the others present to leave his home and demanding to speak to his wife. He asserted that the restraining order barring him from the home after January 2nd was invalid because of his ‘revision.’ He made similar assertions to the police, and also told them that he was bound by God’s laws, not theirs. The police nevertheless arrested him.

[…]

Mr. Didier’s own testimony before the jury included assertions that he was a ‘citizen of heaven,’ not a U.S. citizen or Washington resident. 3 RP at 381. He objected to being subject to Washington’s courts at all. He volunteered that he drove using a church-issued driver’s license. Given this testimony, the State argued to the jury that a person who chooses to be in Washington is subject to its laws, and if that person also chooses to violate the law, that person pays the consequences.

[…]

[Footnotes]

[1] Mr. Didier titled this document ‘ABATEMENT/COUNTER-CLAIM’ and within it attempted to enter a plea of ‘Subornation of False Muster.’ Clerk’s Papers (CP) at 19.

This must somehow be associated with Glen Stoll, the guy in Washington who heads Remedies at Law, that has also been representing the Embassy of Heaven Church. An Ed Brayton post from 2004 has some background. See also PT and Dispatches posts mentioning Glen Stoll.

All I can add is that in Oregon, in the 1990s, there was a group (called the Embassy of Heaven or something, but I’m not sure it was the same group [added in edit: actually, yes, it is the same group]). They had 40 acres or so near Salem that they said was the independent nation of “Heaven”, not subject to taxes or other state laws. In a story that is too long to go into in depth, I and some friends actually visited Heaven in person at the beginning of a huge Road Trip we did after graduating from high school. Heaven had its own signs, issued its own passports, and they had kind of a hippie-ish commune in the woods on their property. They had trampolines that we jumped on, and we listened to them try to explain what their philosophy was about for about an hour – they would go on and on.

The major point I remember is that Heaven was in an extended dispute with the Oregon State Police, because Heaven evidently made and issued its own license plates for its cars – and the highway patrol seemed to take a special pleasure in pulling over Heaven’s cars and confiscating their plates (the rumor was the officers would take them as souveniers).

Anyway – we left safely, and proceeded to drive to Eastern Oregon to visit Hell’s Canyon. This naturally made for an excellent title for the Official Road Trip Video.

Still, this doesn’t give much more insight on what exactly “subornation of false muster” is supposed to be. Any guesses?