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Alleged thief defiant in courtroom

Michael Rae claims illegal incarceration, asks for self-representation

Posted: June 16, 2011 - 10:18pm  |  Updated: June 17, 2011 - 6:50am
Michael Rae looks through his court filings in Juneau Superior Court on Wednesday. Rae has been accompanied by two court officers for many of his proceedings due to his obstinance concerning incarceration and representation.   Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire
Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire
Michael Rae looks through his court filings in Juneau Superior Court on Wednesday. Rae has been accompanied by two court officers for many of his proceedings due to his obstinance concerning incarceration and representation.

Michael Rae propped his foot up against the jury box, leaned his reading glasses atop his head, grinned and shook his head as District Attorney Dave Brower objected to Rae’s desire to be his own counsel in Juneau Superior Court on Wednesday in an aborted omnibus hearing.

Then Rae covered his mouth with his shackled hands in mock terror as Brower disclosed Rae’s prior court antics to visiting Judge Pro Tempore Larry Card.

“Mr. Rae had a conviction reversed some years ago when a judge had him bound and gagged in front of the jury without proper findings that that was the least restrictive alternative,” Brower said. “At the one I was at, the judge brought up the case, Mr. Rae would not stop talking, I asked if the jail could mute his phone so he wouldn’t interrupt but he could still hear. I think if he were to represent himself, I think he would make a mockery of the court.”

Card allowed Rae to represent himself but said “If at some point he becomes disruptive, that’s time against the defendant, and he would be appointed counsel against his wishes.”

On April 29, Rae allegedly stole a vehicle, then crashed into the Alaska Brewing Company and stole beer.

According to court documents, an Alaskan Brewing Company employee arrived at work early that morning and noticed a Breeze In box truck backed into the parking lot. The employee went to the back of the building to open up the delivery doors and saw the same vehicle drive slowly past with its back door rolled up.

He then went to the front of the building and observed damage to the gift shop, including shattered windows and damage to the frame of the brewery’s awning.

Juneau Police Officers responded and found a black vehicle bumper with a license plate registered to Breeze In Corp. on the ground near the damage.

A brewery employee reported at least two 5-gallon kegs were taken and a number of 12-bottle boxes of beer. Damage was estimated at roughly $15,000 and merchandise taken was estimated at $500.

A Breeze In manager said the truck had been parked behind the Lemon Creek Breeze In after the driver’s last delivery at 3 a.m. The vehicle’s keys were kept in the center console to allow access by the next shift.

Further investigation by police led to location of the vehicle at 5:50 a.m. at a 1700 Northwood Drive parking lot with the keys inside and the engine warm. There was extensive damage to the cab, the windshield was cracked, and the bumper missing.

A witness sleeping in a vehicle outside of a trailer at 6590 Glacier Highway saw Rae arrive in the truck, run up to the front door of the trailer, return to the truck and begin unloading the alcohol. After unloading, Rae drove the truck away. He returned later to the residence, exiting several times and walking up people’s driveways checking to see if anyone saw the incident.

A Walmart security video showed the movement of the truck and Rae. A warranted search of the residence revealed several empty bottles of Alaskan Amber beer and the two kegs. Another man contacted in the residence said he woke up to find Rae and the beer in the trailer and knew nothing about it. Rae was arrested on scene. He was also identified as the man who stole a laptop computer from Walmart on April 20 and was charged with that offense as well.

Rae is charged with first-degree vehicle theft, second-degree burglary and third-degree criminal mischief, all class ‘C’ felonies. He also faces a misdemeanor count of third-degree theft. He is currently lodged at Lemon Creek Correctional Center.

Rae has filed multiple interview review requests with the security sergeant at LCCC, alleging he is being restrained illegally at the behest of Attorney General John Burns through Brower and Assistant District Attorney Angie Kemp. He claimed Kemp initiated a criminal information which was never a validated complaint made upon oath or affirmation from his arrest.

Rae also wrote he was held captive against his will and in violation of U.S. original jurisdiction by Alaska Department of Corrections Commissioner Joe Schmidt and LCCC Superintendant Scott Wellard. He also engaged in a bizarre exchange with Judge Keith Levy on May 2, disputing the validity of the charging documents filed against him. This led to Levy’s ordering Rae to be removed from the courtroom. On May 19, when Levy tried to enter a plea for him in the computer theft case, Rae objected, saying “Judicial determination, you cannot represent me and sit on the bench.” Rae went on to say Levy was denying his right to petition the government to redress grievances under the First Amendment and Bill of Rights.

Rae shouted “tyranny” in Judge Philip Pallenberg’s courtroom during a May 13 arraignment.

Wednesday, Rae argued with Card, saying, “I’m not giving jurisdiction to this court to commence, but I am requesting to proceed sui juris in my own defense.”

Card told Rae not to speak Latin, that it was hard enough to read, let alone understand.

Rae stated he had the right to present his own issues under the First Amendment to which Card replied, “You have a qualified right, not an absolute right. You can appeal the decision I make.”

The omnibus hearing was then continued to June 23.

Rae stated he was presently on maximum hold, didn’t have access to a typewriter and asked for the judge to order the relieved public defender to give full discovery.

“You’ll need to file motions,” Card said. “Just like your lawyer would do. I’m not going to entertain oral motions.”

• Contact reporter Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or at klas.stolpe@juneauempire.com.

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