Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Signs that Your Friend May Be a "Sovereign Citizen"

As we discussed last night, there is a movement among far-right extremists, including the Malheur armed occupiers, to declare themselves independent sovereign citizens outside the jurisdiction of the federal government. [I feel like I should be charging for this lecture series, but I'm no priest-crafter].

Sometimes you might see an indication from a friend or associate like this e-mail sign-off I sometimes get:
At Arms Length, Without Prejudice (UCC 1-308/1-207) Without Recourse
by _____________, Authorized Agent;
All Rights, Remedies and Recourse Reserved
It doesn't make much sense to me either, but with a reference to the UCC and other "legalese" language, it looks like an effort to prevent any accidental contractual obligations or subjection to surprise federal authority.

The UCC is every law student's nightmare attempting to learn the terms of contract and commercial paper for debt obligations and other transfers of value. It is a standard for states in making laws for a uniform commercial system throughout the United States.

From the very good Cornell Law website, we can see the language of the citations above:

§ 1-308. Performance or Acceptance Under Reservation of Rights.

(a) A party that with explicit reservation of rights performs or promises performance or assents to performance in a manner demanded or offered by the other party does not thereby prejudice the rights reserved. Such words as "without prejudice," "under protest," or the like are sufficient.


UCC 1-207

[In 2004 UCC 1-207 was changed to UCC 1-308.]

Oh, so 1-308 is the former 1-207, so there's really no need to cite it particularly as it doesn't mean much anyway--especially in a casual e-mail message.

Maybe it's because this individual knows that I work as an attorney for the federal government they worry about coming under my "jurisdiction." Let me be clear, I have no such "jurisdiction." And most importantly, there's not much you can do to remove yourself from the jurisdiction of the United States unless you are a citizen of some other country, have committed no crimes against the United States, and you are in your nation of citizenship which doesn't have a good extradition treaty with the United States. [oh, sadly, you may have to worry about the "drone-war" which I consider a travesty and stain on the U.S. Constitution]. But I shouldn't be raising more issues for those susceptible to paranoia.

Frankly, I'm baffled. And I don't know what to suggest if you have such a friend who sends you such notices in e-mails. Not everyone who believes themselves a "sovereign citizen" is armed and dangerous or would necessarily occupy a Wildlife Refuge to prove some point about cattle grazing. But, still. . . .

I like what President Russell M. Nelson, President of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said in a meeting a week and a half ago.
"We don't act as Latter-Day Saints if we don't sustain the laws of our own Country"

Please, obey the laws of the land and encourage others to do so. No magic words of the UCC will exempt you. Ask some of those guys in the Multnomah County Detention Center.

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