A Cotopaxi woman who had been in custody and who had proclaimed that law enforcement authorities had no authority over her because she is “sovereign” has changed her stance.

Valerie Ann Barker, accused of threatening to kidnap a federal judge in Wichita, Kansas, recently agreed to obey court orders and show up in court in the future.

A different judge of the U.S. District Court for Kansas then allowed her to be released on a bond, over the objection of a prosecutor.

Barker and her husband, Danny Lee Baker, had been in custody since April when deputies of the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, assisted by Custer County deputies, arrested them during a car stop. 

The arrest was made for the FBI and was based on an indictment at the court in Wichita. They were taken to jail there.

The indictment alleges they mailed threatening communications three times last year. “Highly summarized, the charges involve a series of threats to arrest (kidnap) former United States Bankruptcy Judge Robert Nugent, sent to the court during bankruptcy proceedings to prevent foreclosure and sale of various property at issue in the bankruptcy proceedings,” the prosecutor wrote last month.

A hand-written document submitted in May to the court with both names of the couple at the bottom stated, “We are not United States CITIZENS or RESIDENTS, we are sovereign … The United States …has no authority over (us).”  

Court records state that at a hearing on May 19 Ms. Barker “refuses to participate meaningfully” in the hearing and “proclaimed her refusal to attend any further court sessions.” 

On that basis, a judge would not allow her to be released on a pretrial bond.

Barker’s apparent change of heart surfaced on June 29, four days after a judge appointed a lawyer to represent her at public expense. At that point, she had been in jail for more than two months. 

The lawyer said in a court filing that, “after conferring with counsel, Defendant now has a better understanding of the consequences of her May 19, 2021, in-court conduct, and desires to apologize (for it).”

The bond, granted July 2, requires Barker, while awaiting trial, to live with an aunt in Great Bend, Kansas. That is where her husband, also a Cotopaxi resident, reportedly is living after he was released last month on bail while he awaits trial.

The indictment does not provide any information about the bankruptcy proceedings and the Barkers’ connection to them.

Both have pleaded not guilty. Their trial date is in August.

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