Topeka — A judge has dismissed one of the two misdemeanor criminal charges against a man who claims to be the state's true governor.
The ruling by Shawnee County District Judge Charles Andrews was the latest episode in a nearly two-year legal fight between the state and Mark Kline Drake and his wife, Paula Christine Drake, from the small Cowley County town of Rock.
The Drakes do not think state government is legitimate and argue that its officials have not taken and filed proper oaths of office. They contend that only a handful of Kansans are properly qualified to vote, and a majority of them voted for Mark Kline Drake for governor in 1998.
They also contend the gold fringe on U.S. and Kansas flags designates an illegal "British admiralty court" in control.
Earlier this year, Mark Kline Drake was charged with obstructing a legal process after he tried to serve a "cease and desist" order on the judge presiding over a misdemeanor criminal trial for his wife.
He later was charged with failing to appear for a court hearing on that charge, also a misdemeanor. That charge still is pending.
Andrews ruled Wednesday that the obstruction charge against Mark Kline Drake was improper because state law requires a person to have been charged with another crime before being charged with obstruction.
His attorney, Dennis Hawver of Ozawkie, noted that Mark Kline Drake made the same argument in a document he filed with court officials saying he wouldn't show for a hearing on the obstruction charge. Hawver said the failure to appear charge is improper because of the notice.
"What the Drakes are trying to do is make sure the courts dot all the i's and cross all the t's and obey the law scrupulously," Hawver said Thursday. "It's embarrassing because they haven't been doing it."
The Drakes' legal problems began with their arrests in January 1999 for having an illegal Statehouse meeting on the day Gov. Bill Graves was sworn in.