County sued over divorce filing fees

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SANDPOINT — An Athol man is seeking $1.4 million in damages from Bonner County officials because they declined to record divorce documents without a fee being paid.

Peter Christian Jensen contends the filing fee amounts to extortion.

“For them to withhold an action as officials in government was an act of extortion,” Jensen said in a civil complaint against Bonner County Clerk Michael Rosedale and Deputy Prosecutor William Steven Wilson.

Jensen is seeking damages for perjury, extortion, obstruction of justice and treason, according to the complaint, which was originally filed in Kootenai County on Dec. 14, 2016.

Wilson successfully moved for the venue to be transferred to Bonner County because that is where the dispute occurred. Jensen, court records indicate, objected to the change of venue because he believes judges in the county seat of Sandpoint will be biased in favor of Wilson.

Judge Cynthia Meyer granted the change-of-venue motion on Jan. 31.

Bonner County officials do not appear to be fazed by the litigation.

“The complaint is based upon dubious ‘sovereign citizen’ legal theories not accepted in any modern courtroom,” Wilson said in court filings.

The county also lists a litany of affirmative defenses, including governmental immunity, lack of compliance with the Idaho Tort Claims Act, bad-faith dealing and failing to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

Jensen argued during the Jan. 31 hearing that common law held sway in the case, although Meyer ruled that it did not when there are Idaho statutes which require fees to be collected by recorders offices in Idaho.

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