Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 11

Sovereign Citizens: Threats to Our Courts?

Ryan Kellus Turner


General Counsel and Director of Education
TMCEC
AY 2012
Sovereign individuals claim to be non-citizens of the state and subscribe to the erroneous belief that no
governmentstate or localhas authority over individuals. These individuals often have homemade driver
licenses, license plates, and identification cards. Sovereign defendants refuse to submit to the courts
jurisdiction and claim, for example, that the municipal court is unconstitutional, the municipal prosecutor
does not have the authority to prosecute, or that the Legislature is without authority to pass the laws of
which the defendant is accused of violating. Improperly citing the Uniform Commercial Code, the Holy
Bible, and a host of other texts, sovereign defendants can pose unique arguments, and often file numerous
petitions and motions, in an attempt to confuse and even frustrate the judicial system. Such defendants,
however, like other difficult defendants with whom the court comes into contact, must be adjudicated in a
fair and judicious manner, and a clerks interaction with these defendants should reflect the same. The
courts interaction with these citizens could also present security concerns when those in the court are
unprepared or unaware of these citizens beliefs and tactics.
By the end of the session, participants will be able to:
1. Describe the origins, characteristics, and significance of the sovereign citizen movement;
2. Recognize the presentation, both in person and on paper, of a sovereign citizen; and
3. Identify two critical skills when interacting with sovereign citizen.
I.

Sovereign Citizens Movement


A.

Who are they?


1.
2.
3.

B.

Ideology and Motivation


1.
2.
3.

C.

Litigants
Commentators
Financial Scheme Promoters

Exclusive Belief in Natural Law


To Live Free from Federal, State, and Municipal Law
Subterfuge and Obstructionism

Significance
1.
2.
3.

In 2010 the Southern Poverty Law Center estimated there are 100,000 hard core
sovereign believers and 200,000 experimenters.
In September 2011, the FBI Counterterrorism Division described them as a
Growing Threat to Law Enforcement
Difficulty in Threat Assessment

II.

Identifying Sovereign Defendants


A.

Remember from the Outset:


1.
2.
3.

B.

Words and Characters: They use legitimate legal terms, sources of information, and
characters out of context.
1.
2.
3.

C.

References to the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), Bible, U.S. Constitution ,


case law, or treaties with foreign governments, international law.
Personal names spelled in all capital letters or interspersed with colons (e.g.,
JOHN SMITH or Smith: John) or other derivative (Ryan of the Family Turner)
Signatures followed by the words under duress, Sovereign Living Soul
(SLS), or a copyright symbol ()

Deeds: They love motions practice. This typically means lots of paper.
1.
2.
3.

III.

If it is government issued, or required by law, the SD is not likely to have it.


If it is something lawfully authorized, the SD will not acknowledge the validity
of the law authorizing it.
They know their objectives and tactics, you should also.

Anticipate standard motions in criminal practice (e.g., Plea to Jurisdiction,


Motion to Suppress, Motion for Discovery, Motion to Dismiss.
Anticipate novel motions. (e.g., Notice, Grace, and Demand by Declaration,
Declaration for Notice with Surety Act and Bond, Appearance Brief,
Administrative Notice.
Clerks are obligated to perform their duties under Sec. 29.010, Government Code
and Sec. 30.00009.

Critical Skills for Clerks When Dealing with Sovereign Defendants


A.

Assessment:
1.
2.
3.

B.

Observe
Evaluate
Communicate (at the proper time)

Anticipation
1.
2.
3.

SD Goals: Confrontation, Frustration, Distractions, Time Consumption


Clerks Goals: Be safe! Be patient. Do your job.
REMEMBER: Dont take the Bait! That is what they want!

ContendingwithObstructionAdvocacy:
DealingwithDifficultandSovereignDefendants
byAndyQuittner,CityAttorney,CityofSeguin

AlongtheGulfCoast,whenspeakingofhurricanes,wetalknotaboutifbutwhen.The
sameappliestoourindividualopportunitytocontendwithanunreasonableordifficult
defendant.Ifyouhangaroundlongenough,youwillhavetocontendwithoneormore
defendantswhoareunreasonable,difficult,orboth.
Whatmakescontendingwithadefendantdifficult?Itcouldbesomethingaseasyas
unfamiliaritywiththejudicialsystemorsomethingasdifficultasangermanagementissues,an
inabilitytounderstandtheprocess,oraninabilitytounderstandandadheretotherequired
procedures.Inthemunicipalcourtsystem,weencounteralargenumberofpeoplethatwill
necessarilyincluderepresentationofallsocioeconomicgroups,religions,politicalaffiliations,
andjustabouteverythingelseyoucanthinkof.So,itisaneventualitythatsomeonewillappear
whohasanideologicalobjectiontothejudicialsystem.
Wemustrememberthatwhetherdifficult,unreasonable,sovereign,orotherwise,adefendant
isadefendantand,forprosecutors,ourinteractionswithalldefendantsaregovernedbythe
TexasDisciplinaryRulesofProfessionalConduct.Rule3.09isofparticularinterest:
Theprosecutorinacriminalcaseshall:
(a)refrainfromprosecutingorthreateningtoprosecuteachargethatthe
prosecutorknowsisnotsupportedbyprobablecause;
(b)refrainfromconductingorassistinginacustodialinterrogationofanaccused
unlesstheprosecutorhasmadereasonableeffortstobeassuredthatthe
accusedhasbeenadvisedofanyrightto,andtheprocedureforobtaining,
counselandhasbeengivenreasonableopportunitytoobtaincounsel;
(c)notinitiateorencourageeffortstoobtainfromanunrepresentedaccuseda
waiverofimportantpretrial,trial,orposttrialrights;
(d)maketimelydisclosuretothedefenseofallevidenceorinformationknown
totheprosecutorthattendstonegatetheguiltoftheaccusedormitigatesthe
offense,and,inconnectionwithsentencing,disclosetothedefenseandtothe
tribunalallunprivilegedmitigatinginformationknowntotheprosecutor,except
whentheprosecutorisrelievedofthisresponsibilitybyaprotectiveorderofthe
tribunal;and

(e)exercisereasonablecaretopreventpersonsemployedorcontrolledbythe
prosecutorinacriminalcasefrommakinganextrajudicialstatementthatthe
prosecutorwouldbeprohibitedfrommakingunderRule3.07.
Subparagraph(c)isofparticularimportancewhendealingwithadefendantwhohasa
diminishedcapacitytounderstandeithertheproceduresorthejudicialsystemingeneral.
Comment4toRule3.09isinstructive:
Paragraph(c)doesnotapplytoanypersonwhohasknowingly,intelligently,and
voluntarilywaivedtherightsreferredtothereininopencourt,nordoesitapply
toanypersonappearingprosewiththeapprovalofthetribunal.Finally,that
paragraphdoesnotforbidaprosecutorfromadvisinganunrepresentedaccused
whohasnotstatedhewishestoretainalawyerandwhoisnotentitledto
appointedcounselandwhohasindicatedinopencourtthathewishestoplead
guiltytochargesagainsthimofhispretrial,trial,andposttrialrights,provided
thattheadvicegivenisaccurate;thatitisundertakenwiththeknowledgeand
approvalofthecourt;andthatsuchapracticeisnototherwiseprohibitedbylaw
orapplicablerulesofpracticeorprocedure.
Ofparticularimportancearethewordsinthefirstsentencereferencingknowinglyand
intelligently,especiallyasappliedtothefewcircumstanceswhenconvictionofaClassC
misdemeanormaycarrylongtermconsequences(suchastheftorassaultfamilyviolence).
Thereisafairlylargebodyoflaw,bothstateandfederal,weighinginonwhen,underalarge
numberoffactualvariations,adefendantsactionisknowing,intelligent,orvoluntary.iGiven
thenumberofdefendantsamunicipalprosecutorsees,itwouldnotbedifficultto
unintentionallyguideadefendanttoapleawhenthedefendantcannotintelligentlydoso.In
spiteofthenumbers,oneshouldbediligentinassessingwhetherornottherearesignsthata
defendantmaynothavethecapacitytomakeanintelligentdecision.
Additionally,Article45.201(d)oftheCodeofCriminalProcedureinstructsthatitistheprimary
dutyofamunicipalprosecutornottoconvict,buttoseethatjusticeisdone.Thisappliestoall
defendants,nomatterhowirritatingorevencontentiousthatdefendantmightbe.
Thatisthebackdropunderwhichmunicipalcourtprosecutorsmustwork,includingwhen
prosecutingdifficultdefendants.
IdentifyingSovereignDefendants
Sowhoisasovereigndefendantandfromwhencedothesepersonsarise?First,unlikethe
defendantwhoeitherdoesntunderstand,orlackscapacitytounderstand,thesovereign
defendantusuallydoesunderstandboththeproceduresandthesystem.Moreover,the

sovereigndefendantcanbe,andfrequentlyis,bothdifficultandunreasonable.Knowing
something,includingalittlehistory,aboutwhatmakesasovereigndefendanthelpsinworking
throughtheissuesthatwillinvariablyarisewhenyouencounterone.JudgeFrankEasterbrook,
nowthechiefjudgefortheUnitedStatesCourtofAppealsfortheSeventhCircuit,didan
excellentjobsuccinctlysettingoutwhoisasovereigndefendantwhenheopinedthat[s]ome
peoplebelievewithgreatfervorpreposterousthingsthatjusthappentocoincidewiththeir
selfinterest.ii
Inalllikelihood,sovereigntyissueshaveexistedsincethebeginningoflawafterall,iftheKing
candonowrong,thenwhynotattackthewordsandactsthatconferjurisdictionovera
person.IfImnotyoursubject,thenyouhavenojurisdictiontodealwithme.IntheUnited
StatesittookanactofCongress,followedbystateratification,toreallybegintheonslaughtof
fringegroups.Itappearsthatuponthepassageofthe16thAmendment,whichallowedthe
establishmentofanincometax,varioussovereignandotherrelatedargumentsbegantotake
onanartformoftheirown.Infact,youmayfindthatsomeofthecontentionsraisedbyvarious
taxscofflawsarequitesimilartowhatispresentedinmunicipalcourtsinresponsetotraffic
citations.InTexas,andnowelsewhere,wecanalsoaddthosewhobelievethatTexaswasnot
properlyannexedtotheUnitedStatesalthoughhowthiswouldlegitimatelyaffectadherence
totrafficlawsisabitofastretch.Thenagain,thisiswhereJudgeEasterbrookswordsringtrue.
This,then,isthedecisivefactorthatsetsoutasovereigndefendantfromonewhoismerely
difficult.Itistheadherencetoanideology,nomatterhowirrational,thatisthedetermining
factor.Thenatureoftheideologymaynotbeimportanttomunicipalcourtproceedings,but
earlyrecognitionmayhelpavoidpitfallsaswellaspossiblysignaltheneedforadditional
security.
Earlyon(pre1960s),theantiestablishmentgroupstendedtofallintooneoftwocategories.
First,therewerethosewhobelievedtheywerentcitizensoftheUnitedStates(orofa
particularstate),andthuswerenotsubjecttothelawsofthestate.Somehowtheseadherents
didnotbelievethatthe14thAmendmentdefinedcitizenship([a]llpersonsbornornaturalized
intheUnitedStates,andsubjecttothejurisdictionthereof,arecitizensoftheUnitedStates
andoftheStatewhereintheyreside).
Thesecondgroupobjectedtojurisdictionbasedonreligiousormoralgrounds.Peoplehave
attemptedtousethe1stAmendmenttosupportawidevarietyofargumentsagainstvarious
lawsthattheydonotsupport.Eventhoughthecourtsstrugglewiththecontoursofreligious
protection,theyhavebeenquiteclearaboutuseofthe1stAmendmenttocircumventpurely
secularlaws.Stymiedonthisfront,thosebentongamingthesystemlookedtootherideology.

Nevertheless,patriotargumentscontinuetoberaised,frequentlyinafashionthatmanywould
labelaspaperterrorismactsoffilingabarrageofmotions,harassinglawsuits,andbogus
documentsgenerallyaccompaniedbybizarrelegal,ormoreaccuratelypseudolegal,
languageandargumentation.Whatyouwillsee,asacommontheme,isthatanonviolent
refusaltoparticipatecoupledwithjustenoughknowledgetomuckthingsupresultsina
frustratingseriesofinteractions.
However,beginninginthelate1960s,anumberofrightwingfringegroupsformedthat
questionedtheauthorityandnatureofthefederalgovernment.Mostgrewoutofarecently
emergentrightwingtaxprotestmovement;argumentsabouttheillegitimacyofincometax
lawswereeasilyexpandedoralteredtochallengethelegitimacyofthegovernmentitself.The
mostimportantofthesegroupswasthePosseComitatus,whichoriginatedinOregonand
Californiaaround1970.
MembersofthePosseComitatusbelievedthatthecountywasthetrueseatofgovernmentin
theUnitedStates.Theydidnotdenythelegalexistenceoffederalorstategovernments,but
ratherclaimedthatthecountylevelwasthe"highestauthorityofgovernmentinourRepublic
asitisclosesttothepeople."ThebasicPossemanualstatedthattherehadbeen"subtle
subversion"oftheConstitutionbyvariousarmsandlevelsofgovernment,especiallythe
judiciary.Therewas,infact,a"criminalconspiracytoobstructjustice,disfranchisecitizensand
liquidatetheConstitutionalRepublicoftheseUnitedStates."
ThePossewantedtoreversethissubversionand"restore"theRepublicthrough(1)unilateral
actionsbythepeople(i.e.,thePosse)and(2)actionsbythecountysheriff.Thesheriff,they
argued,wastheonlyconstitutionallawenforcementofficer.Moreover,hismostimportantrole
wastoprotectthepeoplefromtheunlawfulactsofofficialsofgovernments,likejudgesand
governmentagents.Shouldasheriffrefusetocarryoutsuchduties,thepeople(i.e.,thePosse)
hadtherighttohanghim.Infact,thetwomostprominentPossesymbolsbecameasheriff's
badgeandahangman'snoose.
Thisparticularthinking,whichwasgenerallybenign,mostlydiedoutintheearly1980s.Some
oftheideas,though,werereborninvaryinggroupswhoalsotookonanewstyleofprotest
involvingpaperterrorismandinsomecasesevencriminalterrorism.InthewakeofRubyRidge
(Idaho,1992)andWaco(1993)therehasbeenaresurgenceofthisalternativegovernment
movement.
Althoughthebackgrounddetailsmaynothavebeenwellpublicized,everyoneknowsthefate
ofacoupleoftherecentadherentstosuchpseudolegalideology.InApril1992,anangry
residentofSanilacCounty,Michigan,wrotealettertotheMichiganDepartmentofNatural
ResourcesstatingthathewasnolongeracitizenofthecorruptpoliticalcorporateStateof

MichiganandtheUnitedStatesofAmerica.Hefurtherstatedthathewasanswerableonlyto
thecommonlawsandthusexpresslyrevokedhissignatureonanyhuntingoffishinglicenses,
whichheviewedascontractsthatfraudulentlyboundhimtotheillegitimategovernment.This
individualsubscribedtoanunusualrightwingantigovernmentideologywhoseadherentsare
nowincreasinglyplaguingpublicofficialswithavarietyoftacticsdesignedtoattackthe
governmentandotherformsofauthority.Theycallthemselvesconstitutionalists,freemen,
preamblecitizens,commonlawcitizens,ornonforeign/nonresidentaliens,butmost
commonlysovereigncitizens.Earlieritwasmentionedthatknowingwhoyouaredealingwith
mayhavesecurityimplications.Well,theMichiganresidentwhoadheredtothisideologywas
TerryNichols.Unfortunately,heisnottheonlyviolentadherenttothisantigovernment
ideology.
Morerecently,anotheradherenttothesovereigncitizenideologymadethenews.Sovereign
citizenJerryKane,whofrequentlytravelledthecountrywithhissonJoseph,holdingseminars
inwhichhewouldteachhisantigovernmentconspiraciesandpseudolegalsolutions,
immediatelyexitedhiscaratatrafficstop,openedfire,andkilledtwoWestMemphispolice
officers.Anhourlater,KaneandhissonwerekilledinaWalMartparkinglotshootout.This
was,perhaps,aculminationoftheriseinsovereigncitizenactivitythatoccurredduring2009
2010.TheproblemhasattractedtheattentionoftheFBIwhonowlistssomeofthesegroupsas
terroristorganizations(anarchistextremism,sovereigncitizenextremistmovement,and
variousmilitias).Sovereigncitizens(whenincourt,defendants)arenotusuallyadherentsto
violence,butfrequentlyarewellversedinfraudulenttechniquesandinthisregardcancause
concernforthecourtsystem.
ObstructionAdvocacy:DesigningProcedurestoContendWithThoseWhoPracticeSuch
Tactics
Ifthereisonethingthatasovereigndefendant,particularlyonethatpracticespaper
terrorism,cansuccessfullyaccomplishitistofindandexploitanykinkorholeinmunicipal
courtprocedures.Thesmootherthesystemruns,thelesslikelyitisthatsomedifficultor
sovereigndefendantcansuccessfullyexploitthesystemtohisadvantage.Manyofthese
sovereigndefendantsarefamiliarenoughwiththesystemtoworkit,especiallyusingboth
discoveryrequestsandopenrecordsrequeststocreateadditionalwork.
Inrealestate,everyonehasheardthemantrathatvalueisbasedonlocation,location,location.
Indealingwithdifficultdefendants,especiallythesovereigndefendant,themantrashouldbe
communication,communication,communication.TheJudge,theclerk,andtheprosecutorall
needtobecriticallyawareofthesituationtotheextentallowedunderethicalguidelines(i.e.,
withoutcasespecificexpartecommunication).Althoughasovereigndefendantmaybea
crackpotoranyotherideologicalepithetwecanthinkof,inordertoavoidproblemsweneed

tocritically,ratherthandismissively,addresstheirspuriousmotionsandpleadings.Thereason
behindthelaststatementisthatnomatterhowoffthewallthepleadingsappearonthe
surface,therearefrequentlyafewnuggetsthatneedtobeproperlyaddressed.Ifnot
addressed,thenthecourtmightappearbiasedandalegitimatebasisforacomplaintmayarise
(andsovereigndefendantshaveapenchantforfilingcomplaintswiththeStateBar).
Fromtheprosecutionstandpointthisisessential.Youmaybefloodedwithmotions,severalat
atime,someofwhichappearandforthemostpartarepreposterousontheirface.Thatdoes
notmean,however,thatsuchmotionscanbeignored.OnetacticthatIhaveseenistoinclude,
withinseveralmotions,thesamerequestsforrelief.Forexample,onesovereigndefendant
filedaDemandforaCourtofRecord(thiswasfiledinanonrecordmunicipalcourt)alongwith
aMotionforFairandImpartialTrial.Lookingatthetwomotions,bothbytitleandfirstpage,
onewouldthinkthattheDemandforCourtofRecordshouldbedeniedandtheotherforFair
andImpartialTrial,granted.Inthiscase,ifthathadbeendone,theCourtwouldhavedenieda
demandforacourtofrecordinonemotionbutgranteditintheother(astherequestappeared
inbothmotions).Thelessonisthat,asaprosecutor,youmustreadallmotionsandrespond
appropriately.
Anappropriateresponsecouldbewrittenororal,dependingonthecourtanditsprocedures.
Appropriateresponsedoesnotnecessarilymeancraftingaresponsetoeverylittleissueraised
ineachmotion(andIfrequentlycombinemotionsinasingleresponse,astheygenerallyraise
closelyrelatedarguments).Thepurposeofaresponseistoassistthecourtingettingtoaplea
(ortrial,ifthedefendantrefusestoplea,whichisnotatallunusual).Respondingtomotions
filedbysovereigndefendantsisabalancingact,particularlyduringahearingwhereyouare
balancingtheneedsofthecourtwiththepotentialangerandfrustrationofthedefendant.
Overlitigatingcanbeasdetrimentalasbeingunderresponsive.Justremember,youare
dealingwithadefendantwhodoesnotseethefactsinarealisticsetting;inotherwords,you
aredealingwithsomeonewhofirmlybelievesthatoneplusonedoesnotequaltwo.That
personcantbeconvincedotherwise,sothereisnouseintrying.
Sovereigndefendantsalsoseemtohaveapenchantforchallengingtheauthorityofvarious
courtofficerstoperformtheirduties.Thisisparticularlysowithregardtoprosecutors.
Beforedelvingintochallengestoprosecutorialauthority,letusfirstlookatourethicalduties,
aslawyers,tothejudicialsystemandthoseservedbyit,eventhosewhochallengethevery
righttobebroughtbeforethecourt.ThePreambletotheTexasRulesofDisciplinaryProcedure
states,inrelevantpart:
(1)Alawyerisarepresentativeofclients,anofficerofthelegalsystemanda
publiccitizenhavingspecialresponsibilityforthequalityofjustice.Lawyers,as

guardiansofthelaw,playavitalroleinthepreservationofsociety.The
fulfillmentofthisrolerequiresanunderstandingbylawyersoftheirrelationship
withandfunctioninourlegalsystem.Aconsequentobligationoflawyersisto
maintainthehigheststandardsofethicalconduct.
(4)Alawyersconductshouldconformtotherequirementsofthelaw,bothin
professionalservicetoclientsandinthelawyersbusinessandpersonalaffairs.A
lawyershouldusethelawsproceduresonlyforlegitimatepurposesandnotto
harassorintimidateothers.Alawyershoulddemonstraterespectforthelegal
systemandforthosewhoserveit,includingjudges,otherlawyers,andpublic
officials.Whileitisalawyersduty,whennecessary,tochallengetherectitudeof
officialaction,itisalsoalawyersdutytoupholdlegalprocess.
Sowhenasovereigndefendantfilesamotionstatingthatyou,asprosecutor,donthavethe
authoritytoprosecuteandyouarecommittingafraudonthecourt,howwillyourespond?
Withangerandindignation?Orwillyouaddressthelegalissuesandmoveon?Whatifthe
judgeagreeswiththedefendantandfindsthatyoudonthavetheauthority(andthisis
remotelypossible,particularlyunderhiredcounselpractice)?Howwillyouconductyourself?
Whenitcomestoprosecutorialauthority,orforthatmattertheauthorityofthejudgeor
clerks,sovereigndefendantsfrequentlyfileopenrecordsrequestsforthecurrentoathofoffice
forallcourtpersonnel.Withoutindulgingintheargumentastowhenanoathisrequired,(and
withrespecttoprosecutorsthereissomeroomforargumentastoif,undercertain
circumstances,oneisrequiredatall)thisisaneasyfix,beforeitbecomesanissue.Tohavenew
oathsforeachcourtterm,andforeachnewemployee,iseasyandthereisnoharminhaving
oneincaseswhereoneisnotrequired.Ihaventmetamayoryetthatbalkedatissuingan
oathitsjustoneofthoseceremonialdutiesthatmayorslovetoperform.Oncegiven,fileit
withtheCitySecretary,andtheissueisover.Moreimportantly,evenifthejudgesoathwas
notcurrent,itcanbecuredatanytimebeforefinaljudgment.iii
TheotherchallengetoauthoritythatIhaveseenarisesfromaparsingoftheCodeofCriminal
Procedure.InthesecasesthesovereigndefendantreadsArticles2.01and2.02tosaythatonly
adistrictorcountyattorneycanprosecutecriminalcases.ThisreadingignoresArticle45.201
thatspecificallyreferstoprosecutioninmunicipalcourts.ivAndwithrespecttoappealstakento
theCountyCourt,theappellatecourtlackedjurisdictionoverdefendant'schallengetohis
speedingconvictionbaseduponhisassertionthatthecityattorneyshouldnothaveprosecuted
hiscaseinsteadofacountyattorneybaseduponthewordingin[ArticleV,Section21ofthe
TexasConstitution]wheredefendant'sfinewaslessthanthejurisdictionalamountandhis
constitutionalchallengewasnotbaseduponthesubstantivelawviolatedasrequiredby[Article
4.03oftheCodeofCriminalProcedureorSection30.073(a)oftheGovernmentCode].v

Ifdealingwithspuriousandobstructivemotionsisnotenough,theremaybeothertimeswhere
theprosecutorsawarenessmaybecritical,orwhereothercourtpersonnelmayrequestyour
assistance.Thereexistsawidearrayofwebsites,seminars,andotheractivitiesgearedtoassist
sovereigndefendantsintheiractivities.Withtheadventofcheap,highquality,colorlaser
printersandaccesstoavarietyofequipmentthatcanmanufacture(fairlyinexpensively)
anythingfromalicenseplateoravehicleregistrationcertificatetoadriverslicense,youcan
expecttooccasionallyseedocumentsthatarenotwhattheyappeartobe.
Otherareasofmunicipalworkcanbeaffectedbyadherentstovarioussovereigncitizen
theories.Somehavebeenknowntomoveintovacanthouses,bothassquattersandalsowith
filingfraudulentlawsuitstoattemptagainownership.Somestillfilefraudulentliensagainst
municipalemployees(e.g.,judge,prosecutor,policechief,mayor),particularlyafteran
unsuccessfultrialinmunicipalcourt.Thesesituationscancreateproblemsforthecity,police
department,andtheirlegalcounsel.
Sovereigndefendants,inspiteofthefactthatsuchbehaviorhasbeencriminalized,fileliens
andboguslawsuitsagainstprosecutors,judges,mayors,councilmembers,andothercity
officials.Sowhenyouthinkacaseisover,itmaynotbe;yearslateryoumaybedissolving
bogusliensbutatleastthelawhasmadethismucheasiertoaccomplish.
***************************
Intextbox,slightlybiggerandattheendofthearticle:
Formoreinformation,especiallyagoodlistingofidiotlegalargumentsalongwithcaselaw,
visit:
www.adl.org/mwd/suss1.asp
andforalistofcasestouseagainstsovereigncitizenarguments,visit:
www.adl.org/mwd/useful.asp.
Ifyouwanttofollowthelatestonsomeofthesegroups,acoupleofwhicharenowofficially
considereddomesticterrorists,see:
www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2010/april/sovereigncitizens_041310
www.fbi.gov/statsservices/publications/lawenforcementbulletin/september2011/sovereign
citizens

See,e.g.,Williamsv.State,252S.W.3d353(Tex.Crim.App.2008).
Colemanv.Commissioner,791F.2d68,69(7thCir.1986).

ii


iii

ExparteDorsett,2006Tex.App.LEXIS8134(Tex.App.FortWorthSept.142006)(Thecourtheldthata
defendantwasnotentitledtohabeasrelieffromaconvictionandfinebyamunicipalcourtforatrafficviolation;
althoughthemunicipaljudgedidnothaveacurrentoathofofficeonfilewhenapretrialhearingwasset,thefinal
judgmentwasnotvoidbecausethejudgetookanewoathbeforesigningit).Withrespecttotheprosecutor,the
SanAntonioCourtofAppealshasheldthattheState'snoticeofappealinvokedthecourt'sjurisdictioneven
thougha"specialprosecutor,"ratherthanadistrictattorneysignedit,andalthoughtheorderofappointmentsaid
"specialprosecutor,"theprosecutorwas,insubstance,anattorneyprotemwithallthepowersanddutiesofthe
regularprosecutingattorney.Casesinwhichtrialjudgesfailedtotimelyfiletheirantibriberystatementsupported
theviewthattheprosecutor'sdelayinfilingtheoathwiththetrialcourtclerkwasamereirregularitythatdidnot
deprivetheprosecutorofhisauthoritytoactasattorneyprotem.Statev.Ford,2004Tex.App.LEXIS6178(Tex.
App.SanAntonioJuly142004),opinionwithdrawnby,substitutedopinionat158S.W.3d574(Tex.App.San
Antonio2005).
iv
CityattorneyorhisdeputymayrepresenttheStateinacriminalproceedinginmunicipalcourtwithoutviolating
eitherArticleV,Section21oftheTexasConstitutionorSection44.157oftheGovernmentCode.Redwinev.State,
2000Tex.App.LEXIS2494(Tex.App.DallasApril17,2000).
v
Aaronsonv.State,779S.W.2d472(Tex.App.ElPaso1989).