The nearly 40 prospective jurors seated themselves in Judge Evans’ courtroom from which 13 (a jury of 12, with one alternate) would be selected to sit for the trial of Jimi O’Hagan. Mr. O’Hagan is charged by the Pacific County Prosecutor for “theft of a vehicle (a dilapidated Suburban); possession of stolen property (an inoperable airboat), and bail jumping (failure to appear for a scheduled court appearance.)”
Once the prospective jurors were seated, Judge Evans greeted them with a quote from Thomas Jefferson,
“I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.”
When I heard Judge Evans begin the jury selection with this quote by Thomas Jefferson, I thought to myself — hallelujah! Finally, a jury is being told what their power really is.
However, my euphoria was short lived. Right after Judge Evans said what power the jury had, he spent the next 10 minutes telling the jury what they MUST do, what they cannot do, what they shall consider, what they shall not consider,… they shall not research the laws, nor read any materials concerning the case outside of the materials the judge approves, and, above all, they must take an oath to “OBEY” all the instructions and orders that Judge Evans just stated. Judge Evans then asked the 40 prospective jurors if any of them would not take his mandatory oath to follow ONLY his instructions and orders. What is most disheartening, NOT one of the 40 prospective jurors found what Judge Evans first stated as the role of a jury to be in conflict with Judge Evans demand to abide by HIS orders and instructions without question. At that point I knew Jimi O’Hagan would never receive a fair trial.
The Balance of Power now shifted from the “JURY” to “JUDGE EVANS”.
Over the next three days, witness after witness stated that the “stolen vehicle – the dilapidated Suburban” was actually a vehicle offered to Jimi O’Hagan by his employer, Brian Couch. The reason was Mr. O’Hagan offered to pick up another of Couch’s vehicles, which was at a different location, and drive that other vehicle to the needed location. O’Hagan didn’t have any other way to get back home. So Couch gave O’Hagan the Suburban so he could get home. Thereafter, Mr. O’Hagan sent emails and called Couch to come and retrieve the Suburban. The testimony shows O’Hagan’s effort to get Couch to pick up this Suburban spanned a period of months. Couch NEVER answered the emails nor retrieved his Suburban.
The “possession of stolen property – an air boat” was another of Couches possessions which both O’Hagan and Couch moved to O’Hagan’s home so O’Hagan could both repair and store the air boat. O’Hagen completed the repairs and again sent emails to Couch to retrieve and make payment for the work O’Hagan performed. Couch did not respond, nor did Couch pay for the repairs. The air boat, just like the Suburban, sat in O’Hagan’s garage for about 1 year. During that time O’Hagan did additional work for Courch, as did two of O’Hagans brothers. After completing the work for Couch, neither Jimi O’Hagan nor his brothers were paid. The evidence showed that Couch owed the O’Hagans in excess of $20,000 for their work that spanned weeks and months.
O’Hagan decided to file a ‘civil complaint’ in order to collect the money he was owed for all the work, parts, repairs he provided to Couch for which Couch never paid him. Jimi O’Hagan held Couch’s air boat and Suburban as a lien against the money Couch owed him.
Couch wanted to settle the civil lawsuit for a mere $4000. Or, as the testimony offered shows, ‘he will get his lawyers to ruin O’Hagan’ (or words to that affect.) Mr. O’Hagan began the negotiation to resolve the civil suit but didn’t accept the $4000 offer as sufficient as Couch owed over $20,000.
Then it happened, Mr. O’Hagan was charged with “theft of a stolen vehicle, possession of stolen property” based upon Couch’s phone call to the Pacific County Sheriff.
During the trial, all the evidence — the money Couch owed O’Hagan, the civil case Mr. O’Hagan filed in order to resolve the issues concerning the money owed O’Hagan and his lien on the boat and Suburban — was, according to the Pacific County prosecutor, completely irrelevant.
Judge Michael Evans “INSTRUCTED the JURY” that they must find O’Hagan guilty if they believe beyond a reasonable doubt, the “property and vehicle” did not “legally” belong to Jimi O’Hagan. Everything else had nothing to do with the case. There was no doubt about who owned the property. In fact, Mr. O’Hagan admitted he didn’t “OWN” the boat and Suburban. However the REASONS the boat and Suburban were on his property nor why Jimi O’Hagan was holding the boat and Suburban as a lien against Couch’s theft of Wages, Services, Parts, were NOT to be consider a “DEFENSE” to the charges.
Base upon the “INSTRUCTIONS” given the jury, by Judge Evans, Mr. O’Hagan is convicted as charged and now faces 60-years in jail. Because the “JURY” was STRIPPED of their “POWERS” that they have under Washington’s constitution what faith can we have in our “judicial system”? Clearly government’s only have “JUST POWERS” and all power is in the people. Judge Michael Evans is a “government public servant” and does NOT have “absolute power” to strip “the people of all their power”, nor prohibit a JURY from taking into consideration all the events (the theft by Couch of O’Hagans wages, services and repair parts)m just as Article 2, section 28(17) clearly states, ‘criminal actions shall not be limited’. The word “JUSTICE” means exactly that, what is “JUST” under the circumstances.
This case was INTENDED to convict O’Hagan and deprive the PEOPLE of their power to assure “Government” is acting in a “just manner”. Until “juries” are again the “anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution”, justice is no longer in the hands of the people, but left to the whims of judges, like judge Evans.
Judge Michael Evans has been invited to respond to my request for an interview. Should such interview take place I’ll update this story with that information.
On March 2, 2018, Judge Evans responded to my email.
I appreciate your interest in the matter of State v. O’Hagan. However, it would be inappropriate for me to comment (see Code of Judicial Conduct, 2.10; http://bit.ly/2oJiwiw).
To reach Judge Evans and comment on his “claims of authority”, here is his email address EvansM@co.cowlitz.wa.us