Archive for Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Driver who challenged authority of state found guilty

October 2, 2007


Laura West found guilty of traffic charges

She challenged the state of Kansas saying she didn't need a drivers license. But the Douglas County District Court disagrees and finds the woman guilty on traffic charges today. Enlarge video

A woman who challenged the authority of the state of Kansas to require her to have a driver's license was found guilty on traffic charges Monday in Douglas County District Court.

Laura M. West, 21, was ordered to serve 12 months of unsupervised probation and pay $220 in fines. Meanwhile, Judge Robert Fairchild ordered her to serve two concurrent six-month jail sentences, but then suspended those.

Fairchild said West must get a driver's license to drive in Kansas.

During an Aug. 31 trial, West said the Kansas Highway Patrol trooper who stopped her west of Lawrence on June 11 had no right to arrest her. She said she was driving her private "vessel" on a religious mission.

But Fairchild ruled West was guilty of not having a driver's license, obstructing the legal process, failure to dim her headlights and having improper vehicle registration.

West and her partner, J.M. Sovereign Godsent, said they would appeal the judge's decision. West, who has represented herself during the court hearings, said she wasn't surprised at Fairchild's decision.

"I assumed they were going to push (the case) forward," she said. "I still thought they might be smart enough to stop."

Godsent and West say they are members of a group that believes the U.S. is not a country but a foreign corporation that has invaded America.

During West's trial, a trooper testified it took 45 minutes to get her to step out of the van after he stopped it. She was taken to the Douglas County Jail and then freed on $1,500 bond.

West and Godsent said they were traveling to Lawrence to visit a friend. They said their "vessel" is their home. West gave the court a Satsop, Wash., post office box number to contact her.

During her trial West gave Fairchild a CD recording of her encounter with the trooper. Fairchild took the case under advisement to listen to the CD. On Monday he said what he heard on the CD didn't constitute a defense.


Moderateguy 10 years, 6 months ago

So she's going to appeal unsupervised probation and $220 bucks? Can the judge re-instate the original sentence? I wonder if their "group" pays all their taxes. Perhaps society could give them a real smackdown.

TheLawrenceFox 10 years, 6 months ago


She should run for City Commission.

Cindy Flippo 10 years, 6 months ago

What ! ! ! First of all I am glad I am not that stupid, but, then again, maybe it takes stupidity to live these days.

MooseisLoose 10 years, 6 months ago

Would she need a license to gallop around with a couple of coconuts?

acg 10 years, 6 months ago

Aw too bad. I was rooting for you girl. I always root for the underdog and I love it when folks challenge the government's authority. Question authority people! It makes life way more entertaining.

justthefacts 10 years, 6 months ago

She's from the state of Washington? Isn't that were Ramona Morgan (and daughter) came from too? What's up with that - has some hospital for the mentally ill located in that state suddenly given all their inmates a "go-free" card and a map to Kansas???

Haiku_Cuckoo 10 years, 6 months ago

During her trial West gave Fairchild a CD recording of her encounter with the trooper.

I'll bet the CD also contained spoken-word poetry and the bongo drum stylings of J.M. Sovereign Godsent.

This goofy chick got off easy. She should be happy that 1) she's not in jail and 2) her kids won't be taken away from her. She's obviously a wackadoo.

acg 10 years, 6 months ago

You guys need to lighten up. People like this chicky are awesome. Crazy folks that aren't really dangerous are a hoot and instead of being grumpy gusses, you should get to know one or two. They bring a lot of color to your world. Whenever my life starts to feel too routine or mundane I call my crazy friend and she tells me about the subconsious messages the aliens are implanting in her head when she's watching t.v. or running the vaccum and I always get a chuckle out of it. I mean, haven't you ever wondered what it's like to be nuts? Maybe it's more fun, maybe life is more interesting and less monotonous. You never know.

waydownsouth 10 years, 6 months ago

Maybe she will pay in gold. Thats what she is asking for in return.

acg thanks for giving me a laugh this morning.

imastinker 10 years, 6 months ago

Of course it's dangerous to have someone on the road who doesn't believe she should follow the laws. People get killed that way.

She should have been fined much more heavily.

Sigmund 10 years, 6 months ago

Laura is guilty as charged? What a shock, not.

J.M. Sovereign: Godsent, her "non-domestic" partner, should have been charged with practicing law without a license as he was giving Laura legal advice without being a member of the bar. I also would have added 'too stupid to be in public in the first degree' and a 'aggravated dispensing KoolAid without a license' just for good measure.

Kontum1972 10 years, 6 months ago

shades of Jim Jones.... i am surprised she didnt get tazed or peppersprayed.

lmpaul 10 years, 6 months ago

If the "vessel" was their home, what was she driving?

Tom McCune 10 years, 6 months ago

$220? That's all? I think I'll drop my license, registration, and insurance and take my chances....

whatupdown 10 years, 6 months ago

"On a mission from or with God", and with 'seperation of church and state', done proper this could be a long legal story.

feeble 10 years, 6 months ago

americorps (Anonymous) says:

b3, please show me what evidence you have that because she has outlandish viewpoint (though I often wonder how much of our country is controlled by Haliburtonaoltimewarnerdisneyibmmicrosoftexxon) that she is a bad parent:

I think your comment shows great ignorance.

That link goes to the online version of the book put out my Ms. West's partner JM Sovereign Godsent. I think the material present there is very questionable, and should raise concerns about one's parenting skills, and by the way, your comment is incredibly naive.

whatupdown 10 years, 6 months ago

I just looked at Mr.Godsent's website; he is not stupid or ignorant, just nonconformist. For his next moves he needs to remember three things; God, establish, and resonable. Blacks Law will help too.

acg 10 years, 6 months ago

Of course, you're incredibly "naive" or "nuts" or "wacko and should have your kids taken away" if you don't share the same convoluted sense of normality that most of us are locked in. What exactly is normal? Is it really normal to get up every day and tie a noose around your neck (necktie) get into your little metal pollution machines and hurry off to do your day's work, of which you aren't paid what you should be? Is it normal to lock yourself into mortgage debt, credit card debt, student loan and medical care debt, only to spend your days working your a** off to pay that debt and your nights worrying about doing it? Is it really the norm to be so busy chasing your possessions (and the ability to pay for them) that you don't have time to adequately parent your children? Who's normal here? Those of us that are "normal" or this gal, who's driving her vessel down the highway of life? So she doesn't have a valid KS driver's license? Who give's a crap? I surely don't. And I'm sure that the most-likely licensed idiot that just cut me off during my lunch break and nearly killed me doesn't care either! Those of you who are so stuck in your ways, B3, need to look around and see there are other, alternative ways to make it in this world. And instead of being a d-bag every time someone presents a position you're not familiar with, maybe you should try and educate yourself instead.

acg 10 years, 6 months ago

Posted before I read your post consumer and you know, man, you understand. I used to live that nonconformist life. I traveled in my own vessel down the highway of life, for many years and I enjoyed every bit of it. My family was constantly on me to go back to school, get my degree, set down roots and get on with "normality" and you know what? Other than meeting my hubby and having my kids, I kick myself for it every single day.

acg 10 years, 6 months ago

Not necessarily OTTR because I carry full coverage insurance on everything I own, paid off or not just for those eventualities and I don't look at things that way. Looking at things that way is how most of you became so close-minded and grumpy all of the time. I once met a man in Paducah Kentucky that was a con-artist, he conned me out of $100, that's how I met him. He broke the laws and conned people out of their dough and whereas the grumpy close-minded faction of the country would've frowned on this guy and hated him for his skirting of the law and conning of the masses, I found him interesting and charming and a breath fresh air. He was one of the funniest storytellers I've ever met. He was so smart, he could've been anything but he chose the con. He never regretted it and I never regretted knowing him. He taught me a lot and I'll miss him greatly. To whereever your spirit is, David W., I still know how to pick a handcuff lock, hotwire an older model car and run a 3 card monte schtick. Alot of folks would've never forgiven this guy for ripping them off, but to me it was worth the $100 just to get to know him.

acg 10 years, 6 months ago

You've never been to Washington, have you. I'd venture a guess that she's never been in a mental hospital, as she's probably considered nothing out of the ordinary for those parts:DotsLines

Wow, nothing like making a hasty generalization about an entire state of people just because one hippy and one murderer that have come to our area recently just happen to have addresses in that state. Do you feel special now, DotsLines? Do you feel superior? You shouldn't. You're from Kansas.

Haiku_Cuckoo 10 years, 6 months ago

She needs an intervention with Dr. Phil before she harms her babies!

acg 10 years, 6 months ago

Thanks OTTR, my "thieving" friend as you call him is dead. He was shot in Chattanooga 4 years ago trying to stop a man from beating his wife in the parking lot of a bar. Something I doubt you would do. I appreciate your tact and diplomacy, by the way. It's what I've come to expect from most of the loving "good hearted, conservative christians" that plague this part of the country.

acg 10 years, 6 months ago

Awww, DotsLines, getting your panties in a bunch? It's okay. No one on the LJWorld boards really cares if you're an insipid, close-minded little person. It's not like we're not used to it, after all, we have OTTR, RT, B3 and Marion, so you fit right in. Anyhoo, move over to the right please, and join your fellow d-bags, they're always looking for new blood.

greenvera 10 years, 6 months ago

In order for someone to insult another's parenting skills, they are either not parents themselves or very insecure in their own parenting style. I have seen and met Laura West and her daughter around town and they have been in my store on Mass St. They are both wonderful human beings with a generous and kind nature. Laura seems to be a very attentive and nurturing parent. And her daughter is a very kind and curious child.

It's too bad that there are so many people in this wonderful community of Lawrence who cannot reach outside of their box and accept and understand the diverse variety of people we have in this community. But I accept and understand that there are many people here who only think selfishly and cannot reach outside of the self to support and care for all members of society.

Ceallach 10 years, 6 months ago

acg, you have a kinder streak than to do I. When someone betrays your trust AND takes your money, that man is not a friend, but rather a parasite. Con men are seldom, if ever, Robin of Sherwood Forrest. Instead of stealing from the rich they most often steal (con) a poor or elderly person who needs to make every dollar stretch. He sells them hope for a little financial relief, then makes their situation even more difficult by stealing their money. Girl, I'd still be wanting to beat that man about the head and shoulders :)

Confrontation 10 years, 6 months ago

"You really want to avoid the "STRAWMAN" Birth Certificate and Taxpayer Identification (SS)Number application because these are used in conjunction to create the 14th Ammendment slave Vessel of the UNITED STATES artificial person. "

feeble: I have to agree with you. This woman and her man are real nut jobs.

nettieb 10 years, 6 months ago

Dotslines - You seem to be a little testy over people who find humor in mental illness. Does it hit too close to home,or has that semester you spent in college made you so PC you are going to end up with ulcers because you are mad about how everyone else feels?

Grundoon Luna 10 years, 6 months ago

Aw, c'mon folks. Where is your love for your Christian bretheren? Don't you all have love and look out for each other, whacked out or not? I hear you all talk the talk, but when it comes time to walk the walk you bring out the Rascal. Go ahead. Talk some more about values, why don't ya.

Confrontation 10 years, 6 months ago

"Dotsline - Cheer up, Sugarbritches. Your sanctimonious BS makes you look like a fool. You should hook up with some of the other self-righteous fools on here."

Awwww, it sounds like T_O_B wants to hook up with you :)

acg 10 years, 6 months ago

My friend was killed because some slob was beating his own wife, you illiterate idiot. He came across some man and his wife arguing and the man was punching her, David intervened and was shot. I'm glad you got a laugh out of that DotsLine. You're a real piece of work, aren't you, scumbag? But then again, from someone like you, I would expect nothing less.

nettieb 10 years, 6 months ago

Dot - Sorry about your family member.

I also deal with impaired adults and have some mental issues in my family as well.

BUT - sometimes, damn it, it's funny. That doesn't make people bad or stupid people. Other things, (like extreme conservativism or extreme xtianity) make people bad or stupid.

Most people I know have morbid senses of humor and find innapropriate things funny. At least they are not hypocrites and find things that don't affect them funny, while being offended by the things that do. If we all walked around all day mad about someone laughing about something or someone else, we'd all end up whacking ourselves because of the depression blackhole we get sucked into.

Lighten up.

feeble 10 years, 6 months ago

Feeble, by your definition, I think what you say is questionable, so then I have enough information to judge you to be an unfit parent?


============= americorps, I have not placed a large amount of text on the internet that advocates the misapplication of obscure maritime law as a form of legal defense. While, I think it is perfectly reasonable to read my comments in the post above and reject them as being without merit, I think that you are missing the mark if you argue I have presented some sort of absolute definition of what it is to be an unfit parent. Rather, I invited posters and readers to review the writings of one of the players in this little drama and offered an opinion.

My own conclusion, after reading such statements as "Be sure to maintain a perimeter around your baby at all times so they don't try to stab him in the foot or cut half his little pecker off. " leads me to believe that these people believe things that pose a real danger to the development and well being of their children.

Clearly, in the quote above, they are referring to inoculations and circumcision. The inference here is that medical professionals will perform non-therapeutic surgery (i.e circumcision) without your consent. This scenario is extremely unlikely, as the procedure requires tacit approval from the parents/guardians.

Further, the violent description leads me to believe that Ms. West and Mr. Godsent are not capable of rational evaluation of medical procedures. While it is their prerogative to be believe whatever nonsense they wish, the article in question causes me to question their fitness as parents, much as I question the "parental fitness" of those who would allow a child to die of a fever, rather than take the child to a doctor.

Meatwad 10 years, 6 months ago

These nutty people have been walking up and down Mass street for the past several days, talking to anyone who will listen and trying to get money. I like hippies but these people give hippies a bad rap for sure. They do not represent the decent and good among the hippies and free spirit types. These people are annoying. They also add to the unpleasantness that has become going for a walk on Mass street. There are FAR TOO MANY BUMS. You can't get a block without being accosted by a bum. Street musicians are good, and deserve a tip if they are good, but drunken beggars and aggressive pan handlers asking everyone for a free handout are what is ruining our downtown.

acg 10 years, 6 months ago

I should lighten up? How do you figure? Do I sound annoyed with you and that other idiot DotsLine? You bet I am! I get really annoyed with grumpy, hateful jerkoffs that automatically put down anything they don't understand or are not familiar with. You are a typical sour faced, hateful old man. "Ugh, I don't get that lifestyle therefore I'm going to condemn it". You awful people (some of you) sit there on your high horses, spouting that this woman doesn't deserve to be a mother, or should be in a mental hospital just because her life is different from yours and I should lighten up? That's rich buddy. I'm going to have to start swatting at you like I do RT, aren't I, OTTR? He's another annoying p*cker gnat with no discernible purpose other than to bug, too. So, from now on, when I see you around, I'll just shoo you, and we'll get along fine. Now, shoo, you're bothering me!!

Meatwad 10 years, 6 months ago

She makes almost as much sense as Miss Teen South Carolina :)

Meatwad 10 years, 6 months ago

When I said "she" makes as much sense as Miss South Carolina.... I'm talking about Laura. These people are basically harmless except for wasting our tax dollars in court. They aren't mentally ill. The child looks healthier then they do. They are beggar-hippies. People like this give the good hippies a bad name. But overall I suppose they provide some form of entertainment. Unfortunately they seem to like Lawrence and obviously many of the people of Lawrence felt sorry for them, after hearing their tales of abuse by the LAW and the police. (give me a break!) The child is being taught that begging for handouts is how to get money, that's the only harm done here, and hopefully the child will grow up to learn better.

acg 10 years, 6 months ago

Like I said p*cker gnat, shoo, go away! You're just mad because I pegged you for the hateful POS that you really are and you have no recourse because you, and everyone else here, knows I'm right. :) Have a nice day!

Tom Miller 10 years, 6 months ago

.......erlichda...or, in other words, lighten up, ya'll...this whole story is actually sorta funny, if ya bend it sideways and look at in just th' right light. Otherwise, the whole darn thing is just sad and sorta pathetic. Obviously, this girl, and, I'm sure, her whole "crew" either saw too much of the bad side of the universe and ran, or took one look at things as children and created a little safe world for themselves...actually, I'm sorta envious of their abilities to "suspend their disbelief" and find a way for their fragile selves to exist, if not always co-exist, in a truly hostile world...sorta makes you stop and think, if only for a moment...just who's better off- we, the so-called realists, or the delusional, even if it IS self-delusion...seems to work for "them" except for those brief moments where their lives intersect with that dreaded thing, "reality". On the matter of the arresting officer, he and his style of professionalism seems to be one of two different kind of 1-LAW ENFORCEMENT! These are the "by-the-book" guys and girls, and they seem threatened by even simple infractions, and they just AIN'T gonna let THAT happen, so someone goes to jail...and group 2-PEACE officers. These are the truly great cops, the ones' you HOPE pull up when you need one of 'em. They see themselves, and their jobs, as problem-solvers, and they are generally quite good at that. Now, back to the issue at hand...the young lady does seem to have encountered one of the above-described "law enforcement" officers, and, frankly, she's just lucky he didn't shoot her for defying his AUTHORITY! A "peace officer" would have taken stock of the "situation", and the philosophical intricacies therein, issued the lady a warning for the listed violations, and seen her on down "her road"...but that's just me, what do I know...maybe not.

Tom Miller 10 years, 6 months ago

...and, lest we forget, Ramona HAD a valid drivers license at the time of her, just who was and is, more of a threat? just tryin' to keep this all in its' proper perspective...

420 10 years, 6 months ago

Go ahead, paint everyone in the state of Washington with a broad brush.....We don't want anyone from Kansas, or California, (or anywhere else for that matter) to visit, fall in love with, and decide to move here.....We're all a bunch of crazy hippies. Peace

jweave 10 years, 6 months ago

Well said tmkatt!!!! Sounds like everyone is a little crazy here!! And just a tid bit of info for all...Not all of us are crazy here in Washington!!......I actually have known Ramona Morgan for years and she is human...Unfortunatly she did choose the wrong road and drugs did play a big factor and now she will pay for her actions....It is very, very tragic she took lifes and my heart goes out to these families!! Guess what im trying to say is that it has nothing to do with these people being from Wash State how stupid that sounds!!!

GretchenJP 10 years, 6 months ago

Does Laura sell pop tarts on the milky way galaxy too?

bearded_gnome 10 years, 6 months ago

guess "conquer him with your flag" didn't work so good in court.

what is written there really is beyond just crazy, it is dangerous delusion.

and, I actually agree with Dotslines, let's try not to find amusement at the expense of the mentally ill. it truly can make their burden heavier. yes, humor helps, it changes perspective and often gives a sense of control in out-of-control settings; but going out of your way to pick at people's mental disorders ain't good.

any one wondering about the fitness of the west/godsend pair really needs to spend some time reading their posted diatribe. they believe, for example, that hospitals have customs agents in them waiting to trap newly born infants into this servatude.

this, among others, sure look like paranoid delusions. what is being taught to west's daughter?

bearded_gnome 10 years, 6 months ago

oh, p.s. I think the judge was too easy. unsupervised probation???

really too easy for this kind of intentional violation.

1derer 10 years, 6 months ago

a "peace officer" would have taken stock of the "situation", and the philosophical intricacies therein, issued the lady a warning for the listed violations, and seen her on down "her road":

You're kidding, right tmkatt? No license, no current registration. Do you really know a peace officer that would have done that? If so, please share the name, he/she has no business wearing a uniform. IF she had been sent on her way and then killed someone, or even her family or herself, it is the officer that would have been responsible.

The court was extremely gentle with her and I have no problem with it's verdict. But to make this woman and her Sovereign into victims of the world or some kind of heroes is absurd.

jweave 10 years, 6 months ago

Haha 4:20 you are a crazy hippie!! No worries still have time!

420 10 years, 6 months ago

DotsLines.....That would be "SHE".....No worries though...cough, cough....

gypsy10 10 years, 6 months ago

Yea, this story is actually quite amusing. Holy Hangover - lighten up people. I've known a few hippies and the hippies I have known and presently know have better family relationships than all of my uptight, stressed out friends (way better actually). Their relationships with their kids are outstanding; the reason I see the most - kids with parents that are free-spirited aren't scared to talk to their parents. Keeps the lines of communication completely open - that's a good thing.
BTW - Good one Gretchen :)

Sigmund 10 years, 6 months ago

Just because their ideas are "non-conformist" doesn't make them valid or valuable. More often than not such "free thinkers" are just plain wrong. In any event, they are free to believe whatever they want, just so long as they obey the City of Lawrence, State of Kansas, and Federal ordinances and laws like the rest of us.

Since Laura's conviction was for a misdemeanor, I suggest she and J.M. Puff-n-Stuff: Godsmack, high tail it back to Washington. There is no extradition for failing to pay your fine on misdemeanor convictions, and I am convinced that the DA did not ask for a couple of months in jail because they were afraid to place her young daughter into the care of someone who calls himself "J.M. Soveriegn: Godsent" and who rambles on about flags, maritime law, Skull and Bones society, and liens on birth certificates. You never know but his beliefs on proper child rearing techniques might be equally "non-conformist" and "free thinking" and they might have been concerned what other laws J.M. might not feel obliged to obey.

I mean with a middle name "Sovereign" and a surname "Godsent" you might just have a bit of a problem keeping your ego properly sorted out.

GretchenJP 10 years, 6 months ago

Thanks gypsy. We've definately got a strange ranger in this article... a french fry short of a happy meal? Elevator doesn't quite go to the top floor?

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 10 years, 6 months ago

Hey, I hope you all realize that it's my mom you're talkin' about....

BrianR 10 years, 6 months ago

"...what is being taught to west's daughter?"

If she's a typical kid, she'll be a Republican.

After reading many of the posts here, and I haven't read them all because that would be time I could just never get back, Ms. West is looking pretty sane and reasonable.

Sigmund 10 years, 6 months ago

Compared to Mr. J.M Sovereign: Godsent, a watermelon looks sane and reasonable.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 10 years, 6 months ago

After all, she now is a local celebrity, is she not? Look for her at the coffee shop.

greenworld 10 years, 6 months ago

Godsent and West say they are members of a group that believes the U.S. is not a country but a foreign corporation that has invaded America. Yeah right and Pres Bush wears panties.

She said she was driving her private "vessel" on a religious mission. The article doesnt mention that their was a registration, it was registered and sent from God or is it dog.

These people are the same ones that you will read about real soon who will get as many people into their cult and sit around and eventually drink Koolaid and you know what happens after that. Good night, lights out,

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 10 years, 6 months ago

greenworld says: "Pres Bush wears panties."

I've suspected as much.

GretchenJP 10 years, 6 months ago

What color is the moon in your world, Ms. West?

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