Can a felon become a sovereign citizen? The sovereign citizen movement has become a thorn in the flesh of security operatives – the police and FBI inclusive. The police, according to the FBI report, is seeking relevant information and, possibly, special training to handle this growing threat.
Who are these so dreaded individuals?
Simply put, sovereign citizens are a group of people who think they are not controlled by the law.
These people are committed only to their interpretation of the common law. Most of these citizens do not acknowledge the United States’ currency and do not comply with tax laws, but regard them as illegitimate.
One common theme among its members is the belief that citizen’s adherence to United States legislation is not compulsory – but voluntary. They posit that people who adhere to local, state, and federal laws have ignorantly forfeited their fundamental rights by allowing the government impose contracts sealed by laws on them.
This movement believes the American system is an illegitimate entity. Many hold that the county sheriffs are the highest law enforcement officer in the U.S – albeit within their jurisdictions. They even say these county sheriffs have powers superior to any politician, federal, or state officer.
These beliefs have led members of this movement to acts of terrorism and political extremism. Some sects of this movement have been labeled ‘domestic terrorist’ by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Some institutions in the U.S have referred to this sovereign group as the greatest single threat in their various communities. Surprisingly, a 2014 report ranks these sovereign citizens as worse threats to the United States – worse than the jihadist and Islamic terrorist groups.
Southern Poverty Law Centre, in 2010, says the sect has about 100,000 Americans as ‘hardcore’ sovereign movement members. Besides this disturbing number, another 200,000 Americans were “testing sovereign techniques,” resisting all government rules and provisions – from drug charges to speeding tickets.
What does it mean to be a Sovereign Citizen?
From Where Comes their Believe?
Sovereign citizens have one common notion which – they say – splits the U.S citizenship into two classes:
- The U.S Citizens, and;
- Original Citizens – or State’s Citizens
This theory holds that, according to the original American constitution, only white males who own lands were offered citizenship. These, they say, are the ‘Original Citizens’
Others – minorities, women, non-landowners – they claim, were granted their rights as a result of the U.S Constitution Fourteenth Amendment, which makes provision for second class citizenship.
Based on this theory, ‘Original Citizen’ can only be reduced to second class if they so wish. They believe their ‘Original Citizens’ rights are inalienable.
Sadly, while this sentiment sounds like a novel idea, supporters do not properly understand the provision of the law and do not have strong backings for their obnoxious positions.
Of course, most of their theories are handed down from their founders, – like the Federalist Papers – they feign deafness to the views that contradict their argument.
For examples, Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist No. 15. Stated that every US citizen, under the constitution, comes under federal authority.
The courts, however, have persistently rejected the movement’s arguments that a person is not subjected to laws because they are sovereign. Unfortunately, this has, in no way, dampened the persistence of their members.
Even worse, the group practices an irksome act: they file false liens against their critics’ property. In some states, liens take some time before they are validated. This lapse allows member of this group tamper with the title of people who oppose them.
Sadly, it costs the owners of the properties time and money to clear up these false liens.
How to Handle Sovereign Citizens
Indeed, dealing with these people can be a lot tricky. That doesn’t make them right in the eyes of the law.
Your best bet, however, is to seek the assistance of a legal expert and keep in touch with the law enforcement agencies.
To find an attorney near you, visit HG.org for a certified local lawyer.
We advise that the actions and threats of these persons should not be taken lightly. These individuals have caused huge damage to people who oppose them.
In worst cases, they tend to be violent, believing their actions are beyond the control of state or federal law enforcement personnel.
Recommended: What is a Deferred Sentence?
The sovereign citizen movement has grown big over a remarkably short period. Reports put their membership at about 300,000. More threatening, about one-third of the total number are “hardcore believers” who are ready to fight for their beliefs than to give in to any ‘intimidation’ by government agencies.
Although the security officers may not guarantee your safety from these individuals, the police department may step up their game and train their front-line personnel on identifying and better ways of handling these outlaws.