January tossed out of court after latest behavior
The courtroom misadventures of Wesley January continued Wednesday -- albeit very briefly this time.
After prior courtroom visits in which he claimed sovereign citizen status and answered the judge's questions with questions of his own, January tried a new tactic Wednesday afternoon.
Appearing before Judge Denny Bridges in Putnam Superior Court, the 26-year-old January stood behind the table where defendants are supposed to sit and converse with the judge and legal counsel, and refused to acknowledge that he is Wesley Nathan January.
As Judge Bridges started to read the charges against January stemming from his Tuesday night arrest at a South College Avenue residence where the defendant was staying after a reported domestic disagreement with his girlfriend, January inexplicably interrupted the judge.
"I'm not Wesley January," he said, reminiscent of a court appearance last May following an incident in which he was arrested after a nearly 13-hour standoff on Cottonwood Court in the Woods Edge Subdivision.
"Yes, you are," Judge Bridges countered succinctly as January continued to press the issue.
"You need to stop talking and sit down," Bridge forcefully instructed.
But January did neither.
And when the defendant continued to talk over the judge's remarks, Bridges had enough.
"Get him out of here," Bridges ordered as courthouse deputies Jerry Campbell and Steve Fenwick leaped into action and whisked the defendant out of the courtroom.
Campbell said later he transported January back to the Putnam County Jail without further incident.
Courtroom observers said the defendant wanted to be called "Wesley" and not the more formal "Mr. January" or "Wesley January."
His court appearance has been rescheduled for Wednesday in Superior Court, likely at 2 p.m.
January's latest arrest came Tuesday night on drug-related charges after authorities were called to a South College Avenue home to assist the Indiana Department of Child Services in serving a court order at a residence occupied by Damien Gibson, 25, of Greencastle, who was also in court Wednesday afternoon for his initial appearance. Gibson is facing a charge of maintaining a common nuisance.
During the investigation at the residence, officers observed several items of paraphernalia, more than 300 grams of marijuana, U.S. currency and several firearms, all apparently belonging to January.
January was taken into custody and lodged in the Putnam County Jail on charges of dealing in marijuana, possession of marijuana, possession of paraphernalia and probation violation, as well as on a Marion County warrant (for operating as a habitual traffic offender).
As far as January's May 2016 case involving the standoff, he previously pleaded guilty in a plea agreement to possession of marijuana as a Level 6 felony and was sentenced to two years in prison with all but 180 days suspended. He was given credit for 116 days served.
It was during his court appearance in the standoff case that January claimed to be a sovereign citizen -- one answerable only to his interpretation of common law and not the laws of the United States or any state or municipality -- as he appeared before Judge Pro Tem Trudy Selvia.
He started out that court appearance even denying his name is Wesley January.
When Selvia enunciated the basic elements of the case against January for the court and the defendant, he claimed he did not understand them.
"Do you understand?" the judge asked pointedly.
"I stand under no one," the defiant defendant answered.
But the courtroom jousting reached its crescendo when Selvia listed the charges against January as a result of the standoff.
Selvia told January "there are four charges against you."
"Who's 'you'?" January responded.
Selvia quickly seized control of this standoff.
"Mr. January, we're not going to do this. Stop right now," she ordered.
Yet he wasn't done protesting.
As the judge routinely entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf to all charges, January objected, claiming he was being denied his due process.
Wednesday afternoon, the case never got that far and will now resume next Wednesday.