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Useful Cases for Fighting "Sovereign Defendant" Cases

Compiled by Ilse Bailey.

Last Updated July 12, 1996.



  • Defendant Claims Not to Be Citizen
    Title 8 U.S.C. S1481 contains the basic statutory provisions regarding loss of nationality.
  • Removal to Federal Court Stays Action in State Court
    Lowe v. Jacobs, 243 F.2d 432 (5th Cir. 1957), cert. den. 355 U.S. 842, 2 L.Ed.2d 52, 78 S.Ct. 65; and Allman v. Hanley, 302 F.2d 559 (5th Cir. 1962). When an action is removed to federal court, even wrongly, it effectively stays all court action in the state court until resolution of the case or remand by the federal court.
  • Court Finds Argument of "Non-Citizen" Frivolous
    United States v. Masat, 948 F.2d 923, 934 (5th Cir. 1991). Argument that district court lacked personal jurisdiction because of defendant's status as "non-citizen", "non-resident" and "freeman" was frivolous.

    United States v. Schmitt, 748 F.2d 880, 882 (8th Cir. 1986). Argument that district court lacked personal jurisdiction over defendants because they were "Natural Freemen" and not a "juristic identity" was entirely frivolous.

    Kimmell v. Burnet County Appraisal District, 835 S.W.2d 108 (Tex. App.--Austin 1992, writ dism. w.o.j.); and Kimmell v. Loeffler, 792 S.W.2d 791 S.W.2d 648, 650, n.1 (Tex. App.--San Antonio 1990, writ den.).

  • Defendant May Not Choose Forum for Prosecution
    Scotka v. State, 856 S.W.2d 790, 792 (Tex. App.--San Antonio 1993, no pet.). Appellant may not unilaterally immunize herself from the laws of this state, and may not pick and choose at will the forum for a criminal prosecution or appeal.
  • American Currency is not Illegal/Unconstitutional
    Rothacker v. Rockwall County Central Appraisal District, 703 S.W.2d 235 (Tex. App.--Dallas 1985 writ ref'd n.r.e.), and cases cited therein; Chermack v. Bjornsen, 223 N.W.2d 659 (Minn. 1974); Dorgan v. Kouba, 274 S.W.2d 167 (N. Dak. 1978) (reh. den. 1979); Leitch v. Department of Revenue, 519 P.2d 1045 (Ct. App. Oregon 1974); Middlebrook v. Mississippi State Tax Commission, 387 So.2d 726 (Miss.1980); Radue v. Zanaty, 308 So.2d 242 (Ala. 1975); Allen v. Craig, 564 P.2d 552 (Ct. App. Kan. 1977); Trohimovich v. Director of the Department of Labor and Industries, 584 P.2d 467 (Ct. App. Wash., Div. 2, 1978). American currency is not illegal or unconstitutional on the basis that it violates the constitutional provision that requires all debts of a state to be paid in gold and silver. (U.S. Const. art.1, Section 10, cl.1).
  • Bidding in Silver Coin Does Not Override Higher Bidder with Credit
    Elmore v. McCammon, 640 F.Supp. 905 (S.D. Tex. 1986). Under Texas law, bid at deed of trust foreclosure sale in silver coin did not override credit to mortgagee entered by substitute trustee in favor of mortgagee who was successful bidder despite deed of trust provision requiring "cash" sale.
  • Attacks on Complaint & Information by Defendant
    Wells v. State, 516 S.W.2d 663 (Tex. _____, 199_). A prosecutor may not be affiant on the complaint.

    Whiteside v. State, 286 S.W.2d 137. Office secretary may be affiant on the complaint.

  • Jurisdiction over Defendant
    Aguilar v. State, 846 S.W.2d 318 (Tex. Crim. App. 1993). Mere presentment of information to the trial court invests the trial court with jurisdiction over the person of the defendant, regardless of any defect that might exist in the underlying complaint.
  • Common Law Court
    Kimmell v. Burnet County Appraisal District, 835 S.W.2d 108 (Tex. App.--Austin 1992). "The Common Law Court for the Republic of Texas, if it ever existed, has ceased to exist since February 16, 1846."
  • Minimum Contacts Concept Does Not Apply
    Ex Parte Boetscher, 812 S.W.2d 600 (Tex. Crim. App. 1991). The concept of minimum contacts as set out in Kulko v. Superior Court, 436 U.S. 84, 98 S.Ct. 1690 (1980), has no application in criminal cases. See Brilmayer, An Introduction to Jurisdiction in the American Federal System, 1986, 329-335 (discussing minimum contacts theory and criminal jurisdiction).
  • Defendant's Right to Select Counsel or Represent Himself
    Thompson v. State, 447 S.W.2d 920 (Tex. Crim. App. 1969). Right of accused to represent himself or to select his own counsel cannot be manipulated so as to obstruct orderly procedure in the courts or to interfere with the fair administration of justice.

    Adams v. State, 843 S.W.2d 174 (Tex.App.--Dallas 1992). Indigent defendant is not entitled to select particular attorney to be appointed by court.

  • Defendant's Refusal to Identify Self at Arraignment
    Janak v. State, 826 S.W.2d 803 (Tex. App.--Texarkana 1992). Accused's identification of himself as the defendant, in response to court's question at arraignment, was an admission that he was the defendant, even though it was not evidence of guilt; plea of not guilty established personal identity of accused.
  • Right to Appeal is Statutory, Not Constitutuion
    Willis v. State, 856 S.W.2d 851 (Tex. App.--Ft. Worth 1993), Buchanan v. State, 881 S.W.2d 376 (Tex. App.--Houston [14th Dist.] 1994). The right to appeal is statutory, not constitutional.
  • Various Arguments Rejected by Court
    Barcroft v. State, 881 S.W.2d 838 (Tex. App.--Tyler 1994). UCC does not apply; indictment not required; judge not being attorney not a denial of fair right; county court has jurisdiction; no violation of right to travel; no retaliation by State.
  • Sovereignty not Justiciable Controversy
    Barcroft v. State, 900 S.W.2d 370 (Tex. App.--Texarkana 1995). Declaratory action designating Plaintiff to be "Private State Citizen of Texas," and for removal of any and all disabilities placed on him by means of contracts with State, such as birth certificate, driver's license application, school registration papers, voter's registration application card, marriage license, and social security application and number did not present justiciable controversy.
  • Pro Se Inmates in Civil Suits
    Brewer v. Taylor, 737 S.W.2d 421 (Tex. App.--Dallas 1987, no writ). An inmate's right of access to the courts does not entail a right to appear personally in civil actions.
  • Pro Se Defendants; Written Waiver of Right to Counsel
    Williams v. State, 774 S.W.2d 703 (Tex. App.--_____ [5th], 1989, pet. ref'd). By failing to object to the trial court's failure to provide written form for waiver of counsel, defendant waived any right to complain of absence of such form.
  • Pro Se Defendants; Required to Abide by Rules
    McCray v. State, 861 S.W.2d 405 (Tex. App.--Dallas 1993). Rules which govern attorneys also apply to pro se defendants, and courts do not make allowances merely because defendant waives his right to counsel and chooses to represent himself.
  • Pro Se Defendants; Fools for Clients
    Kindley v. State, 879 S.W.2d 261 (Tex. App.--Houston [14th Dist.] 1994). Pro se defendant represented self in County Court at Law on traffic offenses. In affirming his conviction, the Court of Appeals stated, "Once again, a pro se litigant has proven the wisdom of the old adage, 'one who represents himself has a fool for a client.'"
  • Defendant Not Entitled to be Represented by Layman
    Baldwin v. State, 756 S.W.2d 91 (Tex. App. --San Antonio 1988). Appellant's insistence that unlicensed layman be appointed his attorney was properly denied by the trial court. Tex. Gov't Code S81.102 prohibits unlicensed persons from practicing law. Also: Defendant waived attorney even though he refused to sing waiver. Also: Defendant had burden to have pretrial conferences recorded. Failure to do so does not entitle him to reversal on conviction.
  • Fringe on the Flag
    Vella v. McCammon 671 F.Supp. 1128 (S.D. Tex. 1987). Petitioner's claim that court lacked jurisdiction because court's flag had fringe on it was not only without merit, but was totally frivolous. Petitioner's claim held to have no arguable basis in law or fact and Petitioner's appeal found to have been brought in bad faith.

    A.G. Op. No. 483 (1925)(U.S.). Fringe on the U.S. flag is not an integral part of the flag and its presence cannot be said to constitute an unauthorized addition. It has no heraldic significance.

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