DEFENDANT PROTESTS JUDGE, PROCESS AT SENTENCING

January 04, 2002 11:00 pm

By T.L. Petersen

Observer Staff Writer

After filing a flurry of last-minute documents and exhibits just minutes before his 8:30 a.m. sentencing hearing Friday, Clifford Scott Barber of Elgin had no better luck halting the legal process than he had at his November 2001 trial.

Barber was found guilty in November of four felony counts of simulating the legal process by filing false documents against public officials.

Friday morning, despite Barbers repeated interruptions to Tenth District Court Judge Eric Valentine that, I do not consent to this, he was sentenced to two years of probation on each count, community service, 30 days in jail and up to $10,000 in fines and court assessments.

As corrections officers placed handcuffs on Barber to take him from the Union County courtroom to the jail, and asked him if he was carrying any weapon or anything that could cut, poke or otherwise hurt them, Barber once more responded with, I do not consent to any of this.

Barber, along with his wife, Sara Jane Price, who faces her own sentencing hearing Jan. 9 on the same charges, have been described as Overcomers by their legal adviser, James Russell Iler of Richland. The Overcomers, Iler said in November, reject most forms of government.

That belief didnt stop Barber from trying to take legal action against Union County District Attorney Russ West, District Court Judge Phil Mendiguren, County Planner Hanley Jenkins and Union County Clerk Nellie Bogue Hibbert.

In addition to local filings, Barber and Price have filed claims against West in both federal court in the District of Columbia and in Portland.

West testified in a victim statement Friday, noting that when he tried to enforce the land-use laws, Barber had sued him in federal court in what West described as a totally frivolous action.

But Barbers actions, West said, took him away from his job on an ongoing basis to get the actions dismissed.

Ive pretty much given up trying to understand why he keeps filing documents, West said. All he wants now, he told the judge, was I want it to stop.

Judge Valentine threatened Barber with a contempt charge as the defendant tried to interrupt Wests comments. After twice beginning to say, I do not, Barber desisted.

Wests request, repeated to the judge by attorney Daina A. Vitolins of the Oregon Department of Justice who prosecuted the case against Barber and Price, became part of the sentence order. Barber is not to file or attempt to order any further actions without the support of a member in good standing of the Oregon Bar Association.

Barber continued to say he didnt consent to the courts sentencing and conditions.

The judge did deny Vitolins recommendation that Barber write and publish a letter of apology, saying that he didnt see any indication that Barber would mean it, or that it would do any good.

Instead, Barber was ordered to serve 160 hours of community service, painting La Grande fire hydrants under the direction of the La Grande Fire Department.

Its time to put an end to all of this, Valentine told Barber. If you continue to harass public officials you will continue to go to jail and eventually the federal government will prosecute you.

Trying to reach Barber, Valentine told him that the world is a hurting world, sirwe in this country are so spoiledwhy would you spend hours and hours and hours writing and researching on what is meaningless?

Ending the sentencing hearing, Valentine told Barber he had 30 days to appeal the sentencing, and if he couldnt afford a lawyer, one would be appointed for him.

As Barber was finally handcuffed and led from the courtroom, he nodded to supporters.

See you in court, he said.