Bank robber gets 4 years, hit with contempt

EVERETT — A convicted bank robber talked his way onto the wrong side of a Snohomish County Superior Court judge Wednesday after he refused to affix his fingerprints to some paperwork.

Judge Michael Downes was patient at first, listening to Stephen Haff’s five-plus minute speech expounding on why the criminal court has no authority to convict or imprison him. Haff, referring to himself as a “third-party creditor,” demanded his immediate release.

“You are a citizen and subject to the same laws as the rest of us,” Downes said.

The judge then sentenced Haff to nearly four years in prison for a 2011 robbery at a Marysville bank.

Haff wasn’t done, though. He said he wasn’t going to allow anyone to roll his fingerprints onto the court record and he wasn’t going to sign any paperwork.

Downes, however, was done.

He ordered Haff to be held in contempt. He warned the man that meant Haff wouldn’t get any credit toward his sentence while he was in defiance of the judge’s orders.

“I hold you contempt for violating my inalienable rights,” Haff shot back.

Downes left the bench, only to return two minutes later after Haff reconsidered. He said he would follow the judge’s orders as long as he could make a record of his protest.

“I’m doing this under threat and don’t believe the order is lawful. And, accordingly, this is bull,” Haff said.

A jury in February took about 30 minutes to convict Haff of first-degree robbery.

Prosecutors alleged that he passed a lengthy note to a US Bank teller demanding money.

Haff left the note behind but made off with about $2,600.

Scientists at the state crime lab found a thumbprint on the back of the note. The print matched that of the defendant.

Jurors also were told one of Haff’s hairs was found in a baseball cap similar to the one worn by the robber.

The defense argued that someone else could have committed the heist and planted evidence to frame the defendant.

On the day he was convicted, Haff flipped off the lead detective while the verdict was read.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Bicycle tour raises money for dialysis patients

Volunteers also shared health information and put together care packages for homeless women.

Elderly couple escape serious injuries in crash with train

The driver drove down tracks instead of a road, hitting a slow-moving train near Stanwood.

Boeing reaches out to schools

Company employees helped Everett students at recent reading and Manufacturing Day events.

5-vehicle collision sends school bus into ditch; no injuries

No students were hurt when a school bus crashed into… Continue reading

Fire crew returns early from wildfires in Northern California

Four Everett firefighters returned from battling California wildfires late Thursday… Continue reading

Theft lands former insurance salesman 50 days in jail

A former insurance salesman is expected to report to jail… Continue reading

Flooding still a concern on Snohomish River

Flood warning in effect until Monday afternoon for Monroe and Tuesday morning for Snohomish.

Expect river levels to keep rising, though sun is on the way

Some could crest above minor and moderate flood levels.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s best images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Most Read