Bond stands in Sovereign Citizen case; next hearing in August

Randa Wagner | Morrow County Sentinel Jeffrey Miller addresses Judge Robert Hickson, Jr. at a bond hearing June 5 in Morrow County Common Pleas Court. The state was seeking to revoke Miller’s bond on a request from the surety to remove themselves from the case. Judge Hickson did not revoke the bond.

A motion by the Morrow County Prosecutor’s office to revoke bond in the case of Sovereign Citizen Jeffrey Miller, 51, was denied Friday by Judge Robert Hickson, Jr.

The relative who sought to rescind the bond they posted May 4 on Miller’s behalf filed an affidavit with the court May 28, requesting to withdraw their support, concerned they may be found liable for the defendant’s actions in the future.

Miller and two co-defendants are facing charges of burglary, attempted theft and criminal trespass after occupying a home and property on State Route 314 that they did not have permission to use or live in. The three were arrested at the site in late April and Miller was released from the Morrow County jail on $25,000.00 surety or 10% cash AND signature bond, which was signed by his relative. The relative now wants to withdraw their bond and wants Miller out of the residence off TR 108 she allowed him to stay in until his trial is over.

After questioning the relative under oath, Judge Hickson felt there was not sufficient evidence given to validate concerns that Miller would violate terms of his bond, which he has complied with so far, according to the probation dept. Asst. Prosecutor David Homer felt a request from the relative to withdraw their support should be reason enough, since it was their money at risk. They have also attempted to evict Miller, with no success. Judge Hickson let the bond stand, though there is a no contact ruling between Miller and the relative and their spouse. He advised the relative to file charges through the prosecutor’s office if there are problems with harassment, threats or criminal activity.

Homer also requested Judge Hickson issue an order to preclude unauthentic, disreputable and non-responsive legal documents from being filed in the case. In this motion, Homer maintained Attorney Don Wick aided the defendant in publishing ‘Sovereign Citizen nonsense writings in this action.’ The state seeks to restrict evidence to materials that are relevant to the case itself, and cease the barrage of materials defining the Sovereign Citizen movement and its platform.

Hickson did rule that future materials submitted by the defense be limited to no more than five pages at one time and the material must be relevant to the case.

Miller filed a Notice of Appeal on May 4, 2015 on ‘Unconstitutional Soundness, on behalf of the assumed defendants and co-defendants: forcing the assumed defendants under the threat of death, cohesion duress without one’s own free will.’ He asked Hickson about that appeal at Friday’s hearing, and the judge said he found no illegal grounds for Miller’s arrest, booking and incarceration and would not honor it.

The case is uncommon and the first of its kind to be prosecuted in Morrow County, to Sheriff Steve Brenneman’s recollection. According to court documents, the homeowner had not lived at the residence for some time and Miller claimed he was allowed to live there ‘since it was abandoned for so long.’ Signs were posted stating citizens have no legal requirement to provide identification to law enforcement; it was illegal for law enforcement officers to trespass upon the property; that photography on the property was prohibited; along with no trespassing signs in general. Law enforcement sought a search warrant after confirming that Miller did not have the permission of the property owner to reside there.

Officers assembled at the property on State Route 314 on April 21 and arrested Miller, Plaster and Sterling. He refused to be booked into the Morrow County Correctional Facility. At his April 28 arraignment, Miller said he is ‘prepared to die for his belief he is unlawfully held and prosecuted.’ He identified himself as a member of the Sovereign Citizen movement and wanted to be addressed as “Undertaker” (at that time) in place of his legal name. He said he was employed full time in “life” but has no job, and is not on public assistance. Miller would not offer a plea, so his court-appointed attorney offered a not guilty plea on his behalf. The sheriff was ordered to photograph, fingerprint and obtain DNA samples without Miller’s consent as part of the booking procedure.

Miller initially gave interviews to the media, explaining his reasons for why he occupied the property. The court has since ordered the defense and prosecution not to discuss the case with the media or public.

A date of August 27, 2015 is set to hear all pre-trial motions. Miller’s co-defendants, Michael D. Plaster and Richard D. Sterling, will next appear in court on June 30, 2015.

Reach Randa Wagner at 419-946-3010, ext. 1803 or on Twitter @MorrCoSentinel.