January 6 Defendants Try Out Sovereign Citizen Arguments On Federal Judges
In news that should surprise absolutely nobody, the Daily Beast explains that roughly a dozen of the hundreds of people charged with crimes in the January 6, 2021, insurrection are trying to use sovereign citizen arguments in their court cases. Sovereign citizens, you'll recall, are those far-right weirdos who believe that the US government is illegitimate because it's really an evil corporation that owns all its citizens unless they declare themselves not subject to the law. They're very big on pseudolegal language that pretends all laws depend on people accepting a contract with the government, though of course that's hooey too.
The movement keeps gaining adherents, especially among QAnon believers, because who wouldn't want to find a magical way to never pay taxes or follow laws you don't like, to say nothing of sticking it to the global cabal that's eating children in satanic rituals? Believers never seem impressed by the small detail that their word magic never wins in real courts, because of course the courts are also invalid and ruled by "admiralty law," as denoted by the gold fringe on flags in courthouses. (The gold fringe means nothing. Except to the lunatic fringe.)
And as Daily Beast reporter Kelly Weil explains, some January 6 defendants are really into this nonsense. Two guys who've already pleaded guilty to invading the Capitol and assaulting police officers, James Mault and Greg Rubenacker, have asked for their convictions to be overturned and to be freed from prison, because the courts ruling in their cases are not actually the boss of them, and they DO NOT CONSENT. They filed nearly identical handwritten crap pleadings in October. Here's Mault's:
“The United States District Court is a private for profit corporation. (It is not government owned),” read Rubenacker’s handwritten filing. “This court was created in 1871, along with the new form of government without the backing of the 1787 Constitution of the United States for America [sic]. This court was created 14 years after the 1787 Constitution.”
Rubenacker wrote in his filing that "If I knew about this information, I would of never plead guilty" in the first place, so please let him go and dismiss his case, OK? But if the court is a legal fiction, how can an order to release him have any authority? Also, would you all please stop pointing out the first syllable of his name is "Rube"? Besides, that name is only a federal designator that is unrelated to him, the flesh and blood person, who did not give consent for you to point and laugh.
As of yet, both Mault and Rubenacker are still in federal prison in Pennsylvania, even though after a judge dismissed his claims as sovereign citizen bafflegab, Mault helpfully filed a second document denying that he was associated with any such ideology and said the judge was sorely mistaken. It's apparently just a big coincidence that his weird claims about how the Court is violating copyright law just happen to be in line with SovCit nonsense, you see?
Among other fun craziness, there's Pauline Bauer, seen on video telling a police officer inside the Capitol to "bring Nancy Pelosi out here now … we want to hang that fucking bitch." Bauer explained in court last year that "I am here by special divine appearance, a living soul," and that "I do not stand under the law," because as any fool knows, "Under Genesis 1, God gave man dominion over the law." Strangely, that didn't move the court to dismiss her case.
Weil explains that Bauer learned all this stuff from a guy named Bobby Lawrence, who also insisted that his teachings on "American state nationalism" aren't actually connected to any "sovereign citizen" movement, because the media and the public are just really ignorant about such matters. His logic is very compelling!
“By and large everyone equates us to sovereign citizens,” he told The Daily Beast. “That’s how the public looks at it. They don’t realize there’s a difference between a national and a city-zen. City-zen. Municipal public servant. Break down the word: city, zen, ship. Municipal servant in admiralty.”
Well if that isn't valid legal theory (from theos, meaning "god," and ory, meaning "stuff") then we don't know what is. Ultimately, Bauer ended up getting a real lawyer and her case is still pending; she's on home release for now. Hilariously, Lawrence explained that's probably all for the best, because not everyone can be a true law expert like he is:
“I’ve been studying on it for two years and I’ve learned so much in two years,” he said. But “knowing what I know now, I would’ve advised her to find a really good attorney and not helped her because it was too much of a heavy lift for her to do that.”
It's not that sovereign citizen pseudolegal arguments are bullshit, it's simply that you have to really know this stuff for it to work. (It still will not work. It never works.)
Or take James Beeks (please!), an Oaf Keeper who also filed some glorious bullshit in October, complete with red thumbprint to make it official. Plus, it's on letterhead.
Weil translates from the original Loonypants, explaining Beeks had written to fire his appointed attorney, and had chosen to
represent himself “in Propria Sui Juris,” a favorite term of sovereign citizens acting as their own lawyers. He stylized his name as “:james beeks:,” a flourish the sovereign movement believes makes them immune from taxes, and signed the document with both the common sovereign sign of a fingerprint and his name, followed by “all rights reserved,” which sovereign citizens believe is an assertion of a person’s individual copyright.
OK, one more and then we'll let you back out into what passes for reality: There's also Trevor Brown, who explained in a June filing that he had to fire his attorney for conspiring with federal attorneys, insisting the court was actually unable to prosecute him because that would be illegal copyright infringement, and he DO NOT CONSENT:
The United States Attorney’s office for the District of Columbia has arbitrarily determined that the defendant as identified, TREVOR BROWN, is the same exact legal person as the State Citizen Trevor Brown without evidence or process to do so [...] Prisoner Trevor Brown, declares that I DO NOT CONSENT to being identified as the legal, or commercial or whatever kind of identity TREVOR BROWN truly is under any political, legal or commercial, process.
Naturally, he wants $6.86 million in damages for that illegal trespass on his rights, and why not? He's apparently even generous enough to accept fake federal money, not gold bullion, so that's a real deal for the feds.
In conclusion, if you read this, you now owe me FOUR MILLION DOLLARS because I resent my boss unconstitutionally lording it over me with her ill-gotten wealth, I so declare In Poopy sui sui sui here pig sui. The End.
[Daily Beast / Image created using DreamStudio Lite AI]
Yr Wonkette is funded entirely by reader donations. If you can, please send $5 or $10 a month in filthy USA fiat money so we can keep you up to date on what the person, the agent, the principal, and the Walrus are up to.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.