Forrest Amos arrives in Superior Court Judge James Lawler's courtroom Thursday afternoon for his sentencing hearing.

New Trial Denied for Man Convicted of Forging Signatures on Court Docs

By Natalie Johnson / njohnson@chronline.com

A Lewis County Superior Court judge on Tuesday denied a request for a new trial from a man who unsuccessfully defended himself against charges of forging signatures and impersonating four members of the criminal justice system last month. 

Forrest E. Amos, 33, was found guilty in June of four counts of forgery and four counts of first-degree criminal impersonation after acting as his own attorney during a three-day jury trial. 

He was accused of forging the signatures of Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer, deputy prosecutor Will Halstead and Centralia police officers Adam Haggerty and Chad Withrow and filling out court documents from their perspectives in an attempt to secure money on their bonds through a “subrogation” process. 

Amos argued he thought he properly filed the court documents as part of an attempt to sue the four men regarding a previous case in which he is serving 12 years in prison for multiple drug offenses.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He appealed the conviction.  

He also asked for a new trial in a hearing that took place Tuesday, arguing in a written motion that at least one victim in the case perjured himself in testimony.

“Mr. Amos requests a new trial because of the irregularity in obtaining the guilty verdict on June 16, 2017,” his written motion states. 

Amos was actually found guilty June 9 and sentenced June 16.

He argued in his motion that the court’s denial of the use of statutes governing bonds of public officials made it impossible for him to defend himself using his claim that he properly filed the legal documents, including writing the men’s names, to claim compensation against their bonds.

“This prevented Mr. Amos from having a fair trial as the victim was able to lie under oath with regard to the purpose of the bond,” he wrote.

Superior Court Judge James Lawler, who also presided over the trial, denied Amos’ motion. 

In his trial, Amos also argued that he had the legal right to fill out the court documents as he did as part of his civil suit. 

However, at his sentencing hearing, he emotionally conceded that he likely misunderstood the law. 

“It wasn’t done with intent to injure these people. Obviously I read the statutes wrong,” he said through tears at his sentencing in June. “I don’t know how I seen this wrong. I don’t know what I did wrong. It was never about anything other than trying to exercise my right.”

Join the Conversation ...