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I have a couple of cases which EXPIRED and yet the county DA's are refusing to quash warrants for unpaid LFO's. According to State v. Gossage: State v. Olson and State v. Haven....all in Washington State....LFO's are NOT enforceable after 10 years. One case expired in 2001 and the other, via an illegal extension, expired in 2011. I cannot afford an attorney and according to the Atty Generals office, these DA's act without any "bosses". How do I get the warrants quashed and the deprivation of my liberty lifted? They have a FOUR state warrant. I thought that once an elected/state official acts outside the color of state law, they lose their qualified immunity?! A warrant does NOT extend the 10 year jurisdiction for collection of LFO's (See State v. Havens Wa. App. III No 29967-8) I am just wanting the warrants quashed. Failing that, I require assistance in filing a Class action 42 USC 1983, as I KNOW these DA's and Judges have continued to do this illegal activity, even in the face of the court decisions listed above. Thank you.
Hello there Customer --
Pursuant to State v Gossage and RCW 9.94A760(4), LFO's for offenses committed before July 1, 2000 expire and become void after 10 years unless the court extends them for an additional 10 year period prior to the expiration of the first 10 year period. Any person who falls within these categories must apply to the district/county court for a Certificate of Discharge based upon the expiration of the authority of the county to collect any unpaid LFO's (this same Cert of Discharge is also used when a person has finished paying LFO's -- it is a complete discharge of all of the cases and fines).
Now, if any or all of these LFO's that you are being pursued for are for offenses committed prior to July 1, 2000 then they should be eligible for you to receive a Certificate of Discharge unless the court renewed them before the expiration of the first 10 year period -- and the only way you are going to know whether or not the court actually renewed the LFO's is to apply for a Certificate of Discharge for each of the LFO's that you are being pursued for.
You state that "One case expired in 2001 and the other, via an illegal extension, expired in 2011" -- If you are absolutely certain that the cases have expired and neither of them were renewed for an additional 10 year period then you must file applications in the county courts where the LFO's and warrants are being sought against you for Certificates of Discharge on each count. Have you tried to file such motions? You did say that one court "lost" your paperwork -- I know that is hard to believe but courts losing paperwork is a lot more common than most people think and I suggest that you re-file the motion for the Certificate of Discharge in that county and any other county where you have these LFO's pending against you. It may even be in your best interest to hire an attorney to make these applications to the various courts so that you can get them cleared up. If the courts for any reason refuse to clear these up and any actions that the courts have taken do not comply with the letter of the statute and/or the case law then you will have the opportunity to file a quick and clean appeal if you use an attorney in the first place to make the original filings for Certificates of Discharge for the LFO's.
If you want to pursue this on your own then you should ask the clerk's office at the county court if they have an application for a Certificate of Discharge form or if they have a motion form document that you can use to complete to ask the court for a hearing in front of a judge to request that the LFO's be discharged and the warrants dismissed. Almost all courts have forms that can be used by the general public who represent themselves (who act "pro se") -- and usually there are blank motion forms that you can use to adapt to just about any situation that you want to write up in the motion and ask the court for a hearing date and seek relief from a judge through a court order issued to the DA telling the DA and the court to issue Certificates of Discharge to you for the LFO's that they claim are still outstanding.
Finally, under the current circumstances with the LFO's and your rights to receive a Cert of Discharge for them -- simply because the DA and other peoplw who work at the court may have made mistakes either in their interpretation or application of the laws regarding LFO's in your case, it does not mean that they are acting outside the law or outside the color of the law in order to rise to the level of being the basis for a sec 1983 case. In order for a case to get to that level you would have to show that the DA and/or the court personnel absolutely knew that the LFO's were invalid and that they still pursued you because of your race or for some other discriminatory reason that has nothing to do with whether or not you may or may not owe the LFO's to the courts.
I truly wish that I could give you a quick surefire way to get this cleared up without applying to the courts for a hearing but there is no quick and easy manner in which to approach these issues (and it seems from your original question that you have already contacted a number of state agencies in order to find an easier way to handle this than to deal with the courts on an individual basis and you were unable to find such a quick and easy manner to deal with this). However, so long as the LFO's that you are being pursued for either relate back to offenses prior to the July 2000 date and/or the court did not renew the LFO's pursuant to the terms of the statute for additional 10 year periods, then a court should not have any problems issuing the Certificates of Discharge in these LFO cases and if the court invents reasons not to issue them, then an immediate appeal should straighten it out within a few months after that.
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Mary....thank you for your response. I was told by the clerk in Clark county that I can go to jail for the 60 days...or pay the restitution that I owe the county. I wrote NO checks to the county and they wrote off the LFO's in 2008. BUT...they refuse to drop the warrant because "it was valid when it was issued"....in April 2001. And Benton County is acting under the same premise. In Benton County they did order an additional 10 years...HOWEVER....the extension was entered 41 days AFTER the initial 10 years. And the 2nd 10 year term EXPIRED in April of 2011...but they say the warrant extends the 10 year jurisdiction. I have NO money for an attorney!!!!! And I REFUSE to go to jail just to get a hearing before these corrupt officials. These cases are from 1990 and 1991. So NO MATTER what they have NO personal nor subject matter jurisdiction. How can I fight this without going to jail? The DOC discharged me in 2004! The court's jurisdiction expired over 2 years ago on the illegal extension. I am being deprived of my liberty and ALL of their actions are NOT under color of state law!!!!! What do I do?
Hello again Dave --
Both counties have cancelled the LFO's because you meet the requirements of the case law and statutes but you are telling me that the warrants for those LFO cases are still outstanding? This is not impossible -- just unusual that they would not drop the warrants when it was pointed out to them that the LFO's are not still outstanding. There are only two (2) ways that a person can have a warrant dismissed or cancelled: (A) wait for the police to pick you up on some other charge or charges (for example, if you had a DUI case happen and you are arrested -- the police and the courts will not release you unless you take care of the other warrants that are outstanding in the eyes of the court), or (B) without an arrest where you are forcibly brought to the court to clear up the warrants, then you must voluntarily appear at the clerk's office of the court where the warrant was issued at the start of any business day during the week. The clerk's office will then pull the file out and send you to a particular courtroom where the matter will be heard that same day and when presented with the proof that the LFO's are no longer outstanding against you because they expired due to the case law and the statutes, the court will cancel the warrant and dismiss the case(s) against you.
Under the circumstances and without an attorney, you are going to have to handle these matters yourself to get the LFO's properly dismissed and the warrants cleared up -- otherwise the warrants will be left open and when you least expect it the police will arrest you on the warrants and force you to spend several days in jail until the police take you to the courts in the counties where the warrants were issued from. To handle the matter yourself without actually appearing in the court on any business day, then you should file a written request (motion) with the court requesting that the court confirm that there are no LFO's outstanding at the present time due to the statutes and the case law and you further request that the court order any warrants for your arrest that were issued as a result of the original LFO cases be discharged / cancelled. Once you file the requests for the hearing in each county then you simply must wait for a court date that the case will be heard in each court and on that day you must appear with all of your proof and be ready to speak for a few minutes about how your offense either occurred before July 2001 AND/OR the court failed to renew the LFO order prior to the 10 year expiration period.
I can tell from the tone of your question how incredibly frustrated that you are with this situation Dave - and the responses that you have been getting from the court. However, while what has happened and continues to happen to you with these LFO's and warrants is frustrating as all heck and absolutely unfair, you need to take a step back and approach these matters calmly and in the manner that is required by the court to remove the Warrant in each county. The manner in which to have any court address an issue or a problem with a case is to file a motion request with that court and ask the judge to hear your case (or an issue with a case) in an open courtroom so that the judge can agree with you officially that the LFO's should have been discharged and the Judge can issue you a Certificate of Discharge for the LFO and the judge can remove the warrant right then and there at the motion hearing.
Dave, you have already tried speaking to them -- they will not listen and remove the warrants on their own initiative. You have already called the Attorney General's offices -- the AG will not force the individual DA / county to do anything on your behalf. The reason for their responses and reactions is because only a Judge can remove the warrants that are outstanding and you can only get a judge to do that by drafting a legal motion that tells the court about the case and requests that the court remove the warrant by court order -- something that should be pulled together in sections such as (A) briefly state why the LFO was issued and the date the original LFO was issued; (B) Briefly tell the court about the case and statute that cuts off collection of the LFO after 10 years if the incident for which the LFO was issued happened before July 2001 and the court does not renew the LFO for an additional 10 years (which court renewal MUST happen before the original 10 year period expires) AND then tell the court why your case meets the criteria for dismissal of the LFO; and finally (C) tell the court that a warrant for your arrest was issued on XXXX date for the nonpayment of the original LFO, but because the original LFO is no longer collectible by the County pursuant to State v Gossage and RCW 9.94A760(4), you request that the judge issue a court order cancelling the warrant.
I truly wish that there was a way that you could make a telephone call and point these laws and mistakes out to the court and have the LFO cancelled and the warrant lifted without needing to prepare and file a written motion with the court and without having to appear in front of the court for a hearing on the motion -- but that is not going to happen and the sooner that you prepare a written motion and file with each court, the sooner you will get these matters over and done with. You can telephone them or go to the clerk's offices with all of your proof and copies of the law in your hands and stand there and try to make the clerks listen to you and dismiss everything right then and there -- but they will simply be polite and tell you that the matter cannot be handled by them at their level and if you become too disruptive they will simply call security.
As far as they are concerned they have valid personal and subject matter jurisdiction (A) personal jurisdiction over you because the original infraction (crime) happened in their county and the original fines and LFO's were assessed by a judge in their county (even though you did not write a check to the county itself, as part of your original case, state law permits the courts to add some additional fines and fees on top of any restitution that was ordered for the check and that state law that permits the fines and fees -- otherwise known as LFO's in Washington -- is enough to give the county court the personal jurisdiction over you -- state law held that you owed the LFO's to each county where they were assessed and each county has the separate legal right to pursue you for the collection of just those fines and fees (LFO's), and (B) subject matter jurisdiction because the LFO's arise under state statutes (springing up from the original case against you and the right of the county to collect the LFO separately from any other restitution that you were ordered to pay in the original case) and all matters that arise under state law must be heard in state courts. They will lose both personal and subject matter jurisdiction when you file a written motion, appear at the motion hearing to argue your points, and then a judge issues you a Certificate of Discharge of the LFO's and the judge issues a written court order to remove the warrants in these cases. Once the cases are over in this manner then they can never be brought up again in the state courts.
Finally. the legal definition of color of law is when a state official uses a state law or his authority granted by the state to deprive a citizen of their legal rights under the federal law or the federal constitution (again, most frequently argued in civil rights cases where a citizen is discriminated against by state officials -- for example, if the state officials passed a law refusing minorities the right to vote or if the state official simply prevented minorities from voting at the polling booth on election day). Here is a link to one of our sister websites where there is a good explanation of "color of law" -- http://definitions.uslegal.com/c/color-of-law/ Using such a claim in general to claim that you are being denied liberty will not work under state or federal law. The state has the legal right to assess the LFO's and set forth certain requirements that anyone who must pay these LFO's must follow and certain procedures that must be followed in order to get these LFO's discharged and the warrants lifted. If you comply with the court requirements and the state statutes and attend a motion hearing and the court and the judge refuse to discharge the LFO's and refuse to release the warrants without any good reason in the law, then you might have a claim that the officers and the judge are abusing their authority and acting outside of the color of law -- but you have not done everything that you need to do to comply with all the steps to obtain the discharges of the LFO's and release of the warrants.
I hope that I explained all of this to you clearly enough. Please let me know if you have any further questions and I will be happy to assist. I do not think that you will have any problems getting this straightened out through the courts -- but you have to follow their procedures and rules and there is no good way around that.
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Mary....again, thank you for your response. BUT.....I am NOT going to jail, on an ILLEGAL warrant just so I have a chance to explain to the Judge that he has no authority over me. I tried this. I wrote to the Judge in Clark county. He said that he forwarded the matter to the Clerks office to be handled. The clerk then told me that she spoke to the DA and that the DA was unwilling to quash the warrant until I paid the restitution or answered the warrant!!!!!!!!!!!!! And IF I were to present myself to the Clerk, they WOULD arrest me on the spot...as I have a warrant out of Benton County for the SAME thing. And there is where I would sit until they decided to transport me to answer the other warrant. I have been dealing with this attitude for over 5 years. They are playing hardball because I didn't pay ANY restitution. I did the prison time, and I gave them a choice at the time of sentencing: Restitution or Prison. I wasn't doing both. I wasn't kidding then and I am not kidding now. They will not see a dime from me. I did file a motion in Benton County. They LIED to me about having received it. Then they told me that I didn't include a "date and time for the hearing"!? Are you kidding me? I am supposed to know the court's schedule? I now have to act as a clerk of the court and schedule my own hearing date and time? Can you see the complete picture of what I am up against here? And you are EXACTLY right when you say that I would have to be calm or they would call security. I CANNOT be around these people because they refuse to abide by the statutes and the case law and I COULD NOT remain calm. They would arrest me for Disruptive Conduct or some other BS. I appreciate your assistance. And I truly believe that their continued violation of both Supreme Court case law and the statutes is a violation of my Constitutional and Civil rights. And there is NO WAY that they are acting under color of state law. The Judges and DA have entered ex parte Orders, so they are in collusion. I have filed a complaint with the State Bar and with the Judicial Commission. This cannot be allowed to continue. They are acting as their own little "Judge Roy Bean" group. And somehow, someway I will have them answer to the voters or their superiors. If I could only get some HELP!
Hello again Dave -
I truly wish I could give you a definitive way to proceed on this without running the risk of being arrested ( I will say that if you present yourself to the court without having been arrested they will generally deal with the warrant right there and will not have you jailed for it). However, it sounds like they want to find away around the statute and make you pay the LFO when you are not legally required to do so -- and you may end up having to file a lawsuit against the DA's office if they refuse to wipe this out in a motion hearing (which would be the proper way to do this). If you were incorrect and they actually had a reason under the statutes to make you pay the old LFO's (such as they "renewed" the LFO's properly and according to the statute prior to the expiration of the 10 year statute of limitations period) then I could see them using the warrants as a club to make you pay the LFO's --- but if you are absolutely certain that you are correct regarding the fact that your obligations to pay these LFO's are null and void pursuant to the statute then I would say that they are pursuing this wrongfully and a lawsuit against them may be the only way to get them to back off an fix these matters. Contact county bar associations in your area and get some referrals to local lawyers -- ask specifically for free or low cost attorneys (most bar associations have a list of lawyers that will do this work for them) and just go in and TALK with a few of the lawyers and see what their view on these matters is and get ideas on how to approach it even if you cannot afford to engage the lawyer to assist you in the matter. And, not that I am defending Benton County -- but many counties will ask you to pick a hearing date and then if it is not convenient for the court then the DA's office or the court will change the date to something that they can work with and appear at. Perhaps filing another motion request at that county court for a starting point and telling them the date and time you would like the motion heard will at least get you a start on this. Let me know how this seems to be working out or if you have more questions at a later date - I am online most evenings from about 1 pm EST to about 1 am EST (10 am to 10 pm PST) and I am certainly happy to give you my input if you want to ask another question.
Okay Mary, I tried to call the Benton County clerk of court's office and request a form for the Certificate of Discharge. (I actually had my sister do it, as I cannot stomach what is going on and have a hard time keeping my cool) They told her that these forms "are not mandated and are used internally". BotXXXXX XXXXXne, they REFUSED to send a blank form! And yes, I am ABSOLUTELY certain as to the dates! The 10 year extension that was entered 41 days AFTER the initial 10 year expired.....expired itself on 4-19-2011! And in Clark county, they didn't even file an extension! I HAVE the record. And I KNOW that they cannot go back and shore it up to support their case. The record is VOID of any record of my release from prison, so the time limits revert back to the sentencing date (per Gossage). The "ex parte" entries are evidence of the collusion between the Judges and the DA's. They are supposed to KNOW the law before they enter warrants with 4 state extraditions. As a matter of fact, XXXXX XXXXX tried this before, in State v. Olson, and he was told then (2009) that he could NOT do what he is doing now. ??????
Hello again Dave --
They are correct -- the Certificate of Discharge is a form that is used internally and issued by the Judge to discharge the LFO's. What you need to prepare is a motion document. The court may or may not have a form motion that you can use to fit your current motion request. Have her call the court back and ask them if they have any form motion documents that a person can revise and use for their own motion request. If they do not have a form motion that they can send you or direct you to then you will have to prepare the motion from scratch on your own computer. As part of that motion you will put a written request in the motion for the court to issue the Certificate of Discharge to you which then acts as your proof that the court has heard this matter and has dismissed the LFO's and the warrant. So yes, the Certificate of DIscharge itself is an internal document that you as a party to this action would not complete or sign -- this is up to the court. -
As I stated in the earliest answer above -- a motion should be drafted as follows -- it is generally broken down into separate written sections such as (A) briefly state why the LFO was issued and the date the original LFO was issued; (B) Briefly tell the court about the case and statute that cuts off collection of the LFO after 10 years if the incident for which the LFO was issued happened before July 2001 and the court does not renew the LFO for an additional 10 years (which court renewal MUST happen before the original 10 year period expires) AND then tell the court why your case meets the criteria for dismissal of the LFO; and (C) tell the court that a warrant for your arrest was issued on XXXX date for the nonpayment of the original LFO, but because the original LFO is no longer collectible by the County pursuant to State v Gossage and RCW 9.94A760(4), you request that the judge issue a Certificate of Discharge pursuant to the statute and an additional court order cancelling the warrant.
You then take the written motion that you have prepared and call the court again (or have your sister do it) and tell them the name of the motion that you will be filing and ask them if there are any certain days of the week or times of the days that the court hears motions regarding requests for a Certificate of Discharge and warrant removal. The court will most likely have certain days of the week that they hear such motions and will tell your sister "we hear motions on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 am and 2 pm " and will tell her to pick a date based upon those guidelines. Then you write a cover letter to the court and state "Dear Sir/Madam - Enclosed please find a written motion and request for a hearing asking the court to issue a Certificate of Discharge for certain outdated LFO's and seeking a dismissal of a warrant issued regarding the same LFO's which are/will be the subject of the court's Certificate of Discharge in this matter. I understand that you hold motion hearings on XXXXXdays and XXXXdays each week (insert whatever dates they tell your sister) and I would like to select XXXXXday June XX 2013 at 2 pm for the court to hear the arguments regarding this motion. Yours Sincerely -- " and then you sign it and list your address and telephone number so the court can send you official copies of the motion documents stamped by the court with a hearing date set by the court listed on your copies. At that point you will then have to serve a copy of the motion documents to the Da'S office in that county (you will have to use the Sheriff to properly serve the documents to the DA -- it costs about 50 dollars but then the Sheriff will return a written certification to the court that the DA was served with the documents.
The entire thing is a process from start to finish, to be sure. But drafting a motion document and filing it with the court for a hearing date and then serving the paperwork on the DA's office are all required steps in order to get this matter back in front of a judge and that is what you need to do. Because the limitations of this website are clear in letting customers know that these answers are for educational purposes only and experts like myself are not permitted to write motions or other court or legal documents for customers requesting such assistance here. MARY
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