Judge denies Minnesota fugitive's attempt at 'political asylum' in Montana

2014-07-11T18:15:00Z 2014-07-14T06:42:14Z Judge denies Minnesota fugitive's attempt at 'political asylum' in MontanaBy EDDIE GREGG egregg@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

A Minnesota fugitive appeared in court Friday and argued with a judge that he should be allowed to stay in Montana until he can write the governor a letter seeking “political asylum” because, he claimed, his constitutional rights are being violated.

Appearing in shackles and a white jail uniform, Robert Thomas Baca, 49, heatedly made his case before District Judge Ingrid Gustafson.

Baca told the judge that parole officials in Minnesota are violating his constitutional rights and that he wants to write a letter to Gov. Steve Bullock seeking “political asylum” until the matter is resolved.

Over Baca’s angry protests, the judge explained that Montana cannot legally give political asylum to people from other states.

The nature of Baca’s offenses in Minnesota wasn’t immediately clear Friday, but according to court records he is a Level 3 Predatory Offender. And as part of his sentence in Minnesota, he apparently waived his right to contest extradition.

Law enforcement officers arrested him June 11 in Billings on a warrant, days after he fled Minnesota Department of Corrections supervision, court records say.

Judge Gustafson told Baca that he will be extradited back to Minnesota.

He cursed and said that the only way he would be taken back to Minnesota would be in a coffin.

At a court reporter’s request, detention officers removed him from

the courtroom.

Baca appeared in court a second time Friday afternoon before Justice Court Judge David A. Carter. The judge scheduled a status hearing for Sept. 9 to make sure that Baca has been transported back to Minnesota by that time.

In the meantime, the judge told Baca told he can work with a public defender to file a writ of habeas corpus.

Baca is being held without bond until Minnesota officials come to pick him up.

Copyright 2014 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Billings Gazette

Most Wanted

Most wanted

Most wanted

Wanted by United States Marshals Service Montana Violent Offender Task Force

November 17, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

Most Wanted

Most Wanted

Wanted by United States Marshals Service Montana Violent Offender Task Force

October 06, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

Crime Watch Map

Keep tabs on crime around the city. View Map

Billings Police Report

2013 Billings Police Department Annual Report. View Report

Popular Stories

Get weekly ads via e-mail

Deals & Offers

Featured Businesses