Friday, February 15, 2013

Sovereign Citizens

Jason Robert Williams allowed a default judgment to be entered against him in a nonpayment-of-rent case. Williams, represented by his brother “Julian Kevin: Williams” then sought to vacate the default judgment claiming that 2720 refused to credit his payment.
Jason had delivered to 2720 Realty, his Landlord, a “lawful Bill of Exchange.” It was a realistic looking but worthless money order.
2720 Realty deposited the instrument with its bank. It was returned uncashed and stamped “FRAUD.”
Jason appears to be part of a group of “Sovereign Citizens.” Sovereign Citizens have three basic beliefs. First, they adhere to the redemption theory, which is based on the premise that when the federal government abandoned the gold standard in 1933 it secretly pledged the physical bodies of its citizens as collateral to borrow money.
Second, Sovereign Citizens believe that the government created a fictitious entity for each citizen, and set up secret trust accounts through birth certificates and social security cards.
Third, SCs believe they can ‘redeem’ their birth certificates and in doing so, tap into their secret Treasury accounts. Using this theory, they further believe they can create money orders and sign drafts drawn on their Treasury Direct Accounts to pay for goods and services. And in this case, rent.
Marc Finkelstein, a Brooklyn Housing Court Judge, was not impressed and called the redemption theory “implausible,” “clearly nonsense,” “convoluted,” “peculiar,” “without merit,” and “equal parts revisionist legal history and conspiracy theory.”
Judge Finkelstein also allowed that “. . . Jason Robert: Williams will not prevail in this matter.” Unfortunately, Julian Kevin: Williams could not be reached for comment.
There have been numerous cases in the past few months in which the Sovereign Citizen theory has been advanced in eviction and other civil cases. At least in New York.
In Texas we have seen recently the specious public filings and recordations that mandated a fix by our Texas legislators. Even more recently we experienced “squatters” who thought they were gaining title to property by moving into vacant properties. Can the Sovereign Citizen movement – in the civil law context - be far behind?
See 2720 Realty v. Jason Robert Williams; L&T 077392/12; September 6, 2012.
Lessons learned (and one disclaimer):
1.      Beware the Sovereign Citizens. Terry Nichols, Oklahoma City bombing co-conspirator, was / is alleged to be a Sovereign Citizen.
2.      Sovereign Citizens may be using every means possible to disrupt America, including civil court proceedings.
3.      I tried diligently to review this case. I could not. It does not appear to be published in any manner. Consequently, these allegations are taken primarily from an article published in Texas Lawyer, and unless / until proven, should be assumed to be nothing more than allegations.

Reprinted with the permission of North Texas Commercial Association of REALTORS®, Inc.