Do you live inside yourself? A Pennsylvania man accused of driving drunk wore a Coors Light sweatshirt to court and offered a novel defense yesterday in DUI court.
The law doesn't have jurisdiction over him, Scott A. Witmer said, because he is a ''sovereign man.''
''It means I live inside myself,'' Witmer, 44, told a curious Northampton County Judge Leonard Zito. ''I don't live in the state of Pennsylvania.''
Witmer was arrested by state police from Bethlehem early Aug. 24 when he allegedly drove drunk from his 1309 Adams St. home after troopers responded to a domestic violence call. Police also charged him with several summary offenses and said he did not have insurance, lacked valid license plates, and was driving on a revoked license.
Accompanying Witmer's legal position was a 20-page motion he submitted in December, in which he insisted the charges against him were unconstitutional. In the filing, he served notice on the court that to rule otherwise would be a ''blatant act of TYRANNY,'' and akin to ''committing acts of treason, usurpation and tyranny.''
Witmer's claim of sovereignty brought raised eyebrows in the courtroom and concerns from Zito. The judge asked public defender James Connell to represent Witmer in a bail hearing held about an hour later in which he increased bail, causing Witmer to be led out of court in handcuffs. ''I'm alarmed that you may be a danger to yourself or our community,'' Zito said.
Zito ordered Witmer to undergo a psychological examination, which didn't faze the defendant, who said, ''I'm not insane'' and ''I'm not crazy.'' ''I've already had five of those done on me in prison,'' Witmer said of the examinations. ''It's no big deal.''
Witmer had been free on unsecured bail. Zito set the new amount at $25,000, with $2,500 needed for release. Connell said Witmer intends to challenge his stop by state police, and will be filing a motion to that effect. Witmer appeared to take a similar stance during the bail hearing, saying ''that's not a true statement'' when Zito repeated his earlier claim that Witmer could be a danger.
In court filings, police alleged that an intoxicated Witmer cursed at them and had trouble standing after troopers were called to his home because of an argument with his girlfriend. Police said they told Witmer not to drive as they were leaving. While they were parked doing paperwork, Witmer drove past them, allegedly failing to stop at a stop sign and crossing the center line many times, and he refused a blood-alcohol test, according to California DUI attorneys .
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