Is there a bottom line to all these "Sovereign citizen" cases?

The ones involving " I’m traveling, not driving" folks refusing to ID and being forcefully removed from vehicles seem to be just outside of reality for me.

I’ve been looking at Youtube videos and just saw one guy praying to Donald Trump to save him as he’s being extracted.

How can and or does this particular brand of dipshitism ever hold water in a court of law?

white supremacy and white privilege.

it’s usually white men who buy into this idiocy.

Ohhhh, please, please, PLEASE link us to that. I’ve gotta see that.

In a nutshell, it doesn’t. Best case scenario for these sovereign citizen types is that sometimes their documentation looks official enough on the surface to cause some confusion, especially for laypersons, but when judges or lawyers read them they can see it’s legal mumbo jumbo. My brother-in-law is a police officer and I asked him if he ever had to deal with SCs and he immediately replied with, “I hate those guys, ‘I’m not driving I’m traveling.’”

It’s very common for sovereign citizens to invoke phrases they believe makes them immune from the law. For example, when pulled over by a police officer they’ll sometimes make it clear that they are traveling not driving and therefore the officer has no authority to stop them or ask for a diver’s license. They’ll claim that they’re not the legal entity known as, say, JOHN SMITH, because they don’t spell their name with all capital letters or some other such nonsense with the expectation the the laws of the land don’t apply to them. It’s really bizarre.

I had to deal with a sovereign citizen at work, a black male though Wesley_Clark is right that it’s usually white men who buy into this idiocy, who sent us a formal letter requesting that we no longer take out taxes for FICA or for federal and state income. He explained that he was a native of America and did not have to pay these taxes and went on to request that we change his legal name in our system. We honestly weren’t sure how to reply at first. Ultimately he was told we were legally obligated to deduct some taxes from his pay, gave him instructions on how to change his state and federal withholding, and pointed him to our legal name change policy. We didn’t hear a peep from him after that. The odd thing is that he was a pretty good employee.

They really think there are somehow magic words and phrases.

Yeah, like screaming “I do not consent!” is going to impress the cop who just shot you with his taser and is now putting handcuffs on you.

As others have said, it literally doesn’t.

It’s rare that I’d say I’m a fan of court reporting, but I’ll make an exception here. This is a link to a summary explanation of a court case, which contains a judge of the Albertan Provincial Court’s experiences with Freemen of the Land, et al.

There’s a link inside the summary to the court case itself (Meads vs. Meads), and it contains the judge’s analysis of “vexatious litigants”. It’s worth your time to read it. Even though he’s analyzing it from a Canadian point of view, the general crappiness of the Freeman legal logic is easily exposed no matter the context.

Here are a couple of previous threads about sovereign citizens:
What Do Sovereign Citizens Get Out of All Their Nonsense? - Great Debates - Straight Dope Message Board
Is there any legitimacy to the Sovereign Citizen argument? - Great Debates - Straight Dope Message Board

As a lawyer, I’ve read thousands of legal decisions, and they can be very complex and confusing to laypeople, but I found the Meads decision to be very readable and understandable to the layperson. That was likely by design, as Justice Rooke seemed to want to warn Freeman-laypeople that this kind of nonsense was not going to be tolerated in an Alberta court any more; as well as to give lawyers ample ammunition when they encountered a Freeman litigant. It’s definitely worth a read for anyone who thinks an inked thumbprint on a postage stamp on a notarized “Notice of Understanding and Claim of Right,” and who spells their name “JOHN HENRY: SMITH” will get them out of a speeding ticket.

I’ll put forth here that plenty of videos I’ve seen involve many,many young men (not so many females) of varying ethnic and racial backgrounds trying to pull this type of behavior off while live streaming. This is NOT the realm of white supremacy and white privilege as Wesley_Clark states.

This is really the heart of it: it’s basically witchcraft, but using “legal” jargon, signs, symbols and rituals. And it works exactly as well in real life as the other kind of witchcraft does.

I think it’s a hair more nuanced than that, but not much.

As I understand it, these clowns believe that there are various legal loopholes that you can invoke/access by going through some kind of formula, usually involving copious amounts of hair-splitting and legalese. And they’re often predicated on the exact wording and/or super-narrow interpretation of various statutes, and these interpretations build on each other, leading to a totally absurd chain of logic that they try and wield in effect as a “Get out of jail free” card.

Problem is, the law rarely works that way- most of the time, the exact wording isn’t really what’s important- for example, the government can’t look at the Third Amendment and claim that because it says “quartered in any house without the consent of the owner” and interpret that to mean that it’s hunky-dory for them to quarter soldiers in people’s rented apartments because they’re not “homes”, and because the owner (i.e. landlord) gave consent, not the renters.

But that’s what these guys are doing in effect- finding some quirk of wording from sometime long ago, and building a chain of questionable logic on that kind of thing that they think exempts them from the laws of the land. The “magic words” are just what they’ve come up with as the way to invoke this chain of logic- if they say them, and then are hauled into court, they can then point at this rickety argument and (in their mind) convince the judge that they’re right, and that they did everything just-so, and should be off the hook.

I can hardly believe that they think that actual cops are so versed in the law that they’ll recognize and understand their “magic words” and let them go. Rather, it’s more along the lines of a trigger or a switch- something you have to do for all of it to work, or so they think.

Are you trying to create joinder with me?

I currently have more than a few cases of FotL / SovCit / Aboriginal Moorish (the usual FotL ideology directed towards African Americans) in my child support caseload.

Bottom line with these cases in family court is that they don’t matter.

The common progression is the client turns to FotL / SovCit / AbMoor after a family court order has been issued. They’re obviously disgruntled with how the court has treated them, which is perfectly valid in some cases, and jumped down the rabbit hole. The sad irony with many of these cases is that because they do not believe in the validity of the court, they will not file a motion in the same family court - really, the only place where resolution could be found. Instead, they go directly to the state. They have tried jumping straight to appeals court, filing criminal charges, and filing multi-million dollar civil suits against all and sundry.

Not a single one I have been involved with has gotten out of the gates.

In very few cases, the person was FotL / SovCit / AbMoor prior to the original order. The vast majority do not attend the hearing, leading the court to issue a default order. In the rare instance they do appear, court orders will address beliefs brought up at the hearing in the facts, but will dismiss it all in the conclusions.

If a cop is searching your car, saying “I do not consent to a search” might help later on, if they find anything more that a Terry stop could reveal, like say in your trunk.

However- there are some magic words: “I want my lawyer.” is pretty strong magic “Am I free to go?” also can work.

But all those Sovereign Citizen crap ignores the real “magic words”.

The problem is that there really are magic words and phrases in the law, these are just the wrong ones.

For example, if you tell an interrogating officer: “I am invoking my right to remain silent. I request an attorney” the cops will stop interrogating you until you have legal representation.

But if you use a bit of non-legal vernacular, and, say: “Why don’t you just give me a lawyer, dog”, sorry, the courts have decided that you were apparently asking for a canine legal advocate. You failed to correctly cast the “interrogatus interruptus” spell and you lose your rights.

Yes, it’s not a white, or American, or Trump thing. Canadians have them too, as well as in Germany.

The Sovereign citizen arguments reminds me of the old Scooby Doo trope.
“You may know that ghosts don’t exist, but do the ghosts know that?”

Even if the you are right and according to some obscure statute in the depths of common law it really does matter if the flag has tassels, or whether there is a colon between your first and last name, it won’t do you a bit of good if the people who actually enforce the law don’t know/believe that. While you are sitting in your prison cell, you may be able to take grim satisfaction that the truth and the law were on your side, but you’re still in a prison cell.

The other major source / progression is:

  1. I don’t want to pay Federal income taxes.

  2. I found a guy selling a book / website promising that if I send him money he’ll tell me how to file papers to make me legally immune from the IRS.

  3. I buy the book & file the magic papers instead of my tax return(s).

  4. I repeat this for year(s) thinking it’s working great while what’s actually happened is I’m just not at the top of the IRS’s backlog yet.

  5. The IRS grabs me and all my assets and listens not a whit to my insane bleatings about my sovereign status, magic papers, etc. They get extract their money, with interest, and failing that sometimes I even go to federal prison.

Always fun to watch those folks go down.

Here is a link to a legal humor blogger I enjoy. He doesn’t have a specific tag for this category, but this link gets you his search result page for “sovereign”. Always good for a chuckle: