By JOHN BURNETT
Tribune-Herald staff writer
Disorder in the court didn’t slow the wheels of justice when John Williams, aka “Castle John,” lord of the manor at a Kalapana Seaview Estates castle-themed bed-and-breakfast, appeared Thursday afternoon on a petty misdemeanor theft charge.
Williams, who said it was his 57th birthday, arrived in Hilo District court clad in a purple T-shirt and glitter-spangled khaki overalls and shoes, with purple angel wings, purple butterflies in his beard, multicolored gloves, and a colorful knit cap he described as a yarmulke with purple spikes and antennae. He was accompanied by a dachsund named Bruiser that Williams described as a service animal “to help with my anxiety issues.”
When a sheriff’s deputy asked Williams — who was sitting in the courtroom gallery — to remove his hat, he refused. He also balked when the deputy asked him to leave the courtroom, stating that he was a “sovereign individual” and they had no authority to remove him.
Deputies moved to forcibly remove Williams, and he resisted.
“Don’t touch me! Let go of me! What are you doing?” he yelled. When a deputy replied that he was trying to escort Williams out of the courtooom, Williams shot back, “I can’t trust you, you’re trying to hurt me right now.”
Judge Harry Freitas ignored the commotion and court proceedings went on, uninterrupted.
Williams regained his calm after being pulled into the hallway by deputies. He said he was wearing the costume to celebrate his birthday and those of the late physicist Albert Einstein and waltz king Johann Strauss. He added that he was also “trying to educate people that the court doesn’t have jurisdiction over this land.”
“The Hawaiian government has always had jurisdiction over this land and the United States government is just a bunch of occupiers and war criminals,” he said. “They’re doing things in such a way that they’re impinging on people’s sovereignty and rights. So my job here today is to educate people that they’re in this court because they don’t know any better. They’re only here being flogged and victimized because they’re stupid.”
A deputy said afterward he would have allowed Williams to keep his hat on had he removed the antennae.
“I was tackled because I had antenna on my head,” Williams said. “It was OK to have butterflies in my beard but not to have them on my head. I’m sure it’s in one of the statutes that I can have butterflies in my beard but not on my head, but I didn’t have time to look it up before the sheriff tackled me, put me in a thumb lock and dragged me out of the courtroom because I didn’t want to take the butterflies off my head.
“I asked who in the courtroom was offended by the butterflies and he couldn’t answer me, he just said that was the rule.”
Email John Burnett at firstname.lastname@example.org.