Saturday, June 1, 2013

Sovereign silliness

Sovereign citizens crack me up.

First of all, as a defense attorney, I rarely meet them.  They'd have to actually come to court and I'd have to be forced to sit through their rant.  Because they do not request attorneys.

Once in a while, a wiley judge will force a PD on them as a guide.  "Here you go crazy person, this charming guy in the shabby suit will help you."  And then, if you're super lucky, he never talks to you.  But if he's in jail, don't count on it.

Essentially, sovereigns believe a host of crazy things, but on the basis of that they do what I think is perhaps something more people should do: they just fuck everything up.

They file pages and pages of nonsense in their cases.  It boils down to: ok, law looks to me to be a bunch of magic words.  So I'll just write something with different orderings of magic words, and see what happens.  Can't be that much worse than what lawyers do.

Every once in a while, they're right.  The order of the words is recognizable to a judge as an actual thing and the judge has to respond.  Most of the time, the judge says, "well, it appears you're doing X, and I can't say that makes any sense at all."

Anyway, sovereigns do not crack up law enforcement because some of them also kill cops, which is generally not a good way to keep from being on the government's watch list.

Someone today posted something about some folks at Independence Hall passing out flyers.  The article was unhelpful in terms of figuring out what they were being told to do different.  It appears they were required to get a permit, but we don't know if they had to pay for the permit.  Your First Amendment rights can be limited when the government can come up with a very good reason- in this case- probably something about keeping Independence Hall from being overrun with loonies and littered with flyers.  Who knows, maybe the law isn't constitutional.

But the trouble is after these people tell the officers they have a First Amendment right to do what they're doing, they then start telling the officers they have "natural rights" to walk in the park that cannot be infringed by any government.

Say what?

First, natural rights are fun as a concept but you can't actually quote them unless you're in front of the Supreme Court trying to convince it to expand what's incorporated in the 9th or 14th Amendments.  Natural rights include whatever you want, but usually they're considered to be basic things like breathing, sleeping, eating, and hanging out with folks.  They're not usually going to include being in a particular place- in fact- that concept of natural rights would negate a pretty core element of property rights- the ability to keep people you don't like off your yard.  The government, when it has the property, gets to also keep you off.  Pretty standard.  No judge will ever say there's a natural right to be on property that doesn't belong to YOU.

Second, if you start telling a police officer you have natural rights and the government can't infringe on them, then you sound like a sovereign.  And if you sound like a sovereign- expect to get tasered, because the cop sure as hell isn't interested in waiting for you to shoot him in the head.

My advice to y'all that think you know enough about your rights to quote them to cops: you don't.  Remember your 5th Amendment right to ask for a lawyer and refuse to talk to them, but leave your various theories for why what you're doing isn't against the law for the courtroom.  A judge will have far more patience and is far less likely to beat you about the head.

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