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Mayoral candidate had fight in court

Coeur d’Alene mayoral candidate Josh Arnold said his candidacy is not at odds with his views about the constitutional authority of a Kootenai County court where, several months ago, he reportedly got into a scuffle that broke a bailiff’s elbow.

Arnold was ordered in March to spend five days in custody for contempt of court after fighting with bailiffs and interrupting Magistrate Judge Robert Caldwell during a hearing, the Coeur d’Alene Press reported.

Arnold, 30, a planner for the Coeur d’Alene Tribe, was in court to answer misdemeanor charges that accuse him and his wife of leaving two children at home while they ran errands, the Press reported. That preliminary hearing was postponed indefinitely.

Arnold said he is running for office because the city needs a mayor like him.

“If elected, I would be a servant of the people,” he told The Spokesman-Review. “What I’m all about is responsiveness of government.”

Arnold, a Republican precinct leader, believes that he is not a citizen under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and thus not subject to the court’s jurisdiction. Arnold’s views are similar to those held by people who describe themselves as constitutionalists.

Chief Bailiff and Jury Commissioner Pete Barnes told The Spokesman-Review that Arnold was ordered removed from the court but resisted efforts by Barnes and four other bailiffs to take him into custody; Barnes broke his elbow in the scuffle. Barnes said he had to wear a brace following the fight and was on light duty for a while.

“He was not going to go to the ground for anything,” Barnes said.

Arnold said he can’t talk about the case because it’s pending and could soon “reach a resolution.”

Barnes said he doesn’t know if he’d vote for Arnold, because he doesn’t know anything about his political stances.

Barnes, a bailiff for 22 years, said he has heard the 14th Amendment argument before.

“Probably twice a year we get some group claiming this kind of thing.” He said he can’t remember such views ever leading to an altercation.

Barnes said he doesn’t hold a grudge over the altercation and injury.

“I talked to him afterwards, and he seemed like a nice guy,” Barnes said.