An 81-year-old man accused of impersonating a lawyer to trick foster parents into returning a child to her parents told a judge the “whole thing is a farce” while representing himself Thursday, adding that his self-styled government would start “cleaning house” over the charges, in Spokane County Superior Court.
Howard G. Padden, who wore a yellow Spokane County Jail jumpsuit, is charged with suspicion of first-degree custodial interference, first-degree criminal impersonation and forgery.
The case stems from July 9, when Dimitiry Kucherova told a Washington State Department of Children, Youth, and Families caseworker that Galina Bagmet arrived at his Spokane home with Padden, who claimed to be a lawyer, according to court documents. Padden presented paperwork to Kucherova saying the 15-year-old daughter in his care must be returned to Bagmet.
The paperwork, which Kucherova said looked official, said if the girl was not returned to Bagmet, an officer would arrest Kucherova, remove him from the country and his assets would be seized, documents said. Kucherova said he did not want to get in trouble so he turned the girl over to Bagmet and Padden.
An officer said the documents Padden provided to Kucherova clearly did not recognize the laws of the state or the country, court records said. The officer said the paperwork talked about the 1860s, kings and queens and dissolution of the U.S., among other things.
Some of the documents’ titles included, “Washington: a free and independent nation state,” “Land Jurisdiction Government,” “DeJure State Supreme Court” and “state chief justice.”
Padden called himself a “state chief of justice” Thursday.
A detective, in the court documents, said Padden’s document, “Affidavit of Notice and Writ of Habeas Corpus,” contained legal language consistent with what he’s seen used by people who do not consider themselves to be citizens under the U.S. governmental system. Padden signed that document.
Police arrested Bagmet and Padden at Bagmet’s Spokane home a few days after the incident, court documents said. Padden had a felony Stevens County warrant for his arrest for failure to appear, with an original charge of 32 counts of intimidating a public servant.
Bagmet’s daughter was inside the home and taken to a safe location for the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, according to court records. Police seized documents from the Bagmet home that appeared to match those given by Bagmet and Padden to Kucherova.
On Thursday, with extra law enforcement present in the courtroom, Spokane County Superior Court Judge Tony Hazel continued Padden’s motion to dismiss the three charges against him.
Padden said accusing him of being an accomplice to Bagmet was “ridiculous.”
“I had no intent to deny access to anybody,” he said.
He said he introduced himself to Bagmet’s daughter and told her she could do what she wanted as it pertained to who she lived with. He said he then walked out of the Kucherova house and sat in the car waiting for Bagmet.
“How can I be an accomplice of doing something like that?” Padden said.
He said he had no intention to defraud anyone or forge anything, and that he was simply representing people’s desires for legal action.
Padden and a group of supporters who call themselves “Washington Assembly” filed a series of motions on his behalf.
Padden said they are establishing their own government and will start “cleaning house.”
“This whole system is way out of kilter,” Padden said. “You’re arresting people for no-injury crimes.”
Padden was escorted back to the jail, where his bond is set at $160,000, in handcuffs. Hazel is expected to address several motions at Padden’s Aug. 30 court hearing.
Bagmet was not listed in the Spokane County Jail Thursday. She is charged with first-degree custodial interference and is scheduled for trial Oct. 24.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.