FARMINGTON — A New Sharon woman who has been convicted twice of animal cruelty appeared Friday in Franklin County Superior Court on a charge of failure to appear for jury selection at her June 5 trial.

Carol Murphy, 71, of Lane Road, told the court Friday she is a sovereign citizen and doesn’t recognize the authority of the states to enforce laws. It was the latest in a decade of contentious court hearings.

Murphy was charged and found guilty of animal cruelty in 2005 and again in 2010. Following each conviction for possessing as many as 70 animals, Murphy was banned for life from owning animals. She also was convicted in 2010 of assault a state trooper.

On Oct. 1, Murphy was found in possession of four dogs, a cat, a pig, chinchillas and a rabbit. Murphy was summoned for contempt of court, and her trial was scheduled for June 5, but she didn’t appear.

The October summons against Murphy wasn’t a criminal charge, but it initiated court proceedings to determine whether she had complied with a previous court order prohibiting her from having more animals, Assistant District Attorney Josh Robbins said in October. Prosecutors can seek jail time or a fine as punishment if she is found to have violated the court order, and that proceeding was what was scheduled to begin last week when Murphy didn’t appear.

Murphy has represented herself in all previous cases, which have included lawsuits against judges. On Friday she was represented by court-appointed attorney Tom Carey, but she did most of the talking. She immediately interrupted Judge Lance Walker when her case was opened, asking, “Excuse me, who are you?”

Walker laughed and said he would tell her soon.

When given an opportunity to speak, Murphy announced to the judge, “First of all, I’m not a U.S. citizen.” She said she is a citizen of the Republic of Maine and said the court does not have jurisdiction over her case.

“This is a military court,” Murphy said, saying a military court cannot bring a civilian to court. She requested to be transferred to Washington D.C., where a federal court could hear her case.

Walker broke in, “Well, I have jurisdiction over this case and I’m prepared to set bail.”

Murphy then began to address Walker regarding the constitutionality of state-run courts and who should have jurisdiction over her case, including what she referred to as an “illegal search and seizure” at her property.

Walker stopped her, saying, “Ms. Murphy, as much as I would love talking constitutional law with you, there are a lot of people waiting here.”

Walker eventually threatened to remove Murphy from the courtroom for the remainder of the proceedings if she interrupted again.

Robbins said he was concerned that releasing Murphy until her next court date might end in another arrest, and he recommended psychiatric help for her.

Walker ordered unsecured bail in the amount of $2,500. A status conference was set for Aug. 28.

In 2005, Murphy was convicted on one count of animal cruelty and four counts of possession without a permit after officials seized dozens of pets from her home. She was sentenced to 24 hours in jail, ordered to pay restitution and banned from owning animals. The animals were being abused and were living in unhealthy and inhumane conditions where the air quality was poor and reeked of ammonia, according to court documents. Few animals had water or food in their cages, and a pig’s cage was so small the pig could not turn around, prosecutors said.

In 2010 she was convicted again of animal cruelty after law enforcement officers had found more than 40 emaciated pets at her home.

In February 2009, U.S. District Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. issued an order forbidding Murphy to file lawsuits in federal court without his permission.

“She has not gone quietly,” Woodcock wrote of Murphy in the order. “She has repeatedly resorted to federal court alleging a wide array of constitutional violations that she claims have been perpetrated against her as a consequence of state and municipal enforcement actions. Ms. Murphy’s lawsuits can each be characterized as frivolous, prolix and contentious nonsense. Further, whenever a judge rules against her in any matter, great or small, she tends to threaten to sue or actually sue the judge.

“Ms. Murphy has more than had her day in court. In an effort to contest the state’s determination that she was cruel to animals and possessed them without a license and has thereby relinquished her right to possess them, she has availed herself both in state and federal court of every imaginable means to challenge the decision. She has lost at every turn. Rather than accept the judgments of her fellow citizens, she has concocted conspiracy theories … and has caused the state and federal governments to expend untold time and money defending against her merit-less claims.”

Murphy’s conviction of assault on a state trooper came after he went to her home in 2009 while investigating a report that she had animals in violation of the 2009 ban. Murphy used a stun gun on the trooper’s neck when he tried to arrest her on a warrant for unpaid fines.

Murphy, in a 2012 court filing describing that incident, claimed the trooper was trespassing on her property “and attempted to unconstitutionally curtail my liberty by handcuffing me.”

When Murphy was searched at the jail, she was found to be carrying a 4-inch double-bladed knife.

According to a March 2012 U.S. District Court order, Murphy continued to battle authorities by making claims against “certain medical providers relating to her dental treatment and back pain issues while incarcerated as a prisoner at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham, Maine.”

It’s not clear why Murphy was being held at the prison, though the order said she was no longer incarcerated there.

Douglas McIntire — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @CD_McIntire

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.