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Gary man refuses to come to federal court

Updated: May 19, 2013 7:50AM



HAMMOND — The judge, lawyers, witnesses, evidence and U.S. marshals were all present, but defendant Christopher H. Cannon was missing from the courtroom when his Wednesday afternoon sentencing hearing began at U.S. District Court in Hammond.

Cannon, who is facing two counts of mail fraud, is serving time at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago for a previous conviction for using counterfeit money.When U.S. marshals arrived in Chicago on Wednesday to escort Cannon to Hammond, Cannon refused to come with them, accusing the court of messing with his transcript.

Deputy U.S. Marshal Ed Payne told Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen that Cannon told the marshals he believes it is unfair that he is being tried again.

The Gary resident, 44, has interrupted past court hearings with outbursts, claiming Van Bokkelen and the court lack jurisdiction since Cannon is a member of the Moorish Nation. Van Bokkelen removed him from the courtroom during the trial and Cannon watched proceedings on a video monitor.

Van Bokkelen asked the U.S. Marshals Service about the logistics of forcibly requiring a defendant to attend his own court hearings. Payne said Cannon or one of the marshals could be injured if the situation turns physical, thus delaying the hearing further.

Van Bokkelen agreed to give Cannon one more chance to show up in court after consulting with Cannon’s attorney, Jerome Flynn, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall Stewart. If Cannon doesn’t show up at the hearing — set for 10:30 a.m. on May 23 — Van Bokkelen will go ahead with sentencing.

Flynn said his client is refusing to receive mail or calls from his attorney. So Van Bokkelen requested that a staff member of the Metropolitan Correctional Center or U.S. Marshals Service put the order for a new sentencing hearing in Cannon’s hands.

“We’ll put it in his hands, but I can’t make him read it,” Van Bokkelen said.



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