There’s times when you get a case, or look a the case, and wonder what the hell a person was thinking when they did something. And then there’s the “Sovereign Citizen,” which at this point I’m inclined to believe is code for “batshit insane.”
Consider the case of Lee Howard Cromwell, an alleged* member of this movement. He’s currently charged with several offenses, including numerous filings of false liens against government officials. That’s a familiar tactic of sovereign citizens. Cromwell is a special case, though. He’s charged with killing several people by driving his truck through a Fourth of July fireworks crowd.
There’s a question to Cromwell’s mental capacity. According to his twenty-seven page manifesto, he doesn’t need a driver license to operate a motor vehicle on roads. Instead, he carries a four page “constructive notice” citing certain Supreme Court cases that allegedly mean he doesn’t have to have a driver license since public transportation on roadways is a “common right.”
Cromwell also doesn’t think judges are legitimate, since they are not “licensed,” and receive compensation from the IRS. Attorneys licensed through their State Bar associations are not legitimate, either, since the State Bar is the one place where you can get a license to practice law.
Keep with me on this one. It gets better.
Lee Cromwell also thinks statutes aren’t laws. According to his sublime interpretation of the U.C.C., statutes aren’t law unless there’s a clear legislative intent to “abrogate the common law.” Therefore, because statutes are merely “corporate policies,” they aren’t laws, and they don’t apply.
Oh and Article III of the United States Constitution is under attack by treasonous people who call themselves “lawyers.” Since lawyers merely enforce corporate policy through the State Bar association, the Constitution is in jeopardy.
The one problem with all of Lee Cromwell’s “constructive notices,” failure to recognize courts, law enforcement, and lawyers as legitimate, and his resounding condemnation of the law, is his failure to justify any of these positions in a manner that makes sense to a rational human being. Furthermore, his citations aren’t to any source of relevance.
Cromwell’s numerous “statutes” and “definitions” are pulled from things lawyers call secondary sources or reference material. He uses American Jurisprudence (“AmJur,”) which is an encyclopedia of the law as referenced through case material. It is not law. Cromwell’s understanding of the U.C.C. and its relevance to modern law comes from a treatise called Anderson on the U.C.C., Text, Cases, and Commentaries.
That volume contains no binding legal authority either. It is a person’s opinion on the Uniform Commercial Code, a set of laws dealing with commercial transactions. It has nothing to do whatsoever with the twelve counts of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, vehicular homicide, murder, and criminally negligent homicide he’s facing.
We’re getting to even better stuff.
The conclusion to Lee Cromwell’s “Conditional Acceptance of your Security Instrument Offer**” makes numerous demands of “substantial evidence” regarding the night in question, prove that he is a “citizen of” Anderson County, provide evidence as to who the named parties are in his case, and why he’s being held in jail instead of Anderson County simply filling out a Form 1099-A and recompensing the injured or survivors of those dead with money from a government agency he doesn’t recognize.
If the named individuals can’t meet Cromwell’s demands within fifteen days of receiving his “Conditional Acceptance,” all the named parties have to pay him five million dollars. And he gets to file liens against any of the named parties at any point in which he so chooses.
Now that you’ve been served your appetizer and main course of [ableist slur], here’s the ever so rich dessert.
Cromwell invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination during a deposition at the Anderson County Courthouse on April 12. In fact, that’s all he would say during the course of his deposition besides give his name, age, and address. Every single question got the same response: “I invoke my Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.”
This guy, who doesn’t believe the law applies to anyone, who thinks lawyers are practicing through a corporation committing treason against Article III of the United States Constitution, and who somehow managed to construct a completely new standard and burden of proof, backed slowly away from his demand of five million dollars and did what his lawyer told him to do: shut the hell up.
Normally I don’t touch crazy cases like this with a ten foot pole. There’s several lessons to be learned from Lee Cromwell and his “sovereign citizen” status. Let’s wrap up today’s material.
- You can call yourself a “sovereign citizen.” You are free to read the laws of this country in any fashion you so choose. When you run afoul of the actual laws, the people who went to school, trained in the profession, and work hard to keep your ass out of the fire are going to apply and use the law for you, whether or not you agree with how they do it.
- Cromwell did the right thing at his deposition. He paid attention to his attorney and shut up. Cromwell might have gritted his teeth through every bit of the deposition, but he shut up the entire time. Keeping your trap shut is as good a strategy as you can take in court, even if you’re a “sovereign citizen.”
- It’s not a good idea to question the legitimacy of the Court, Law Enforcement, or attorneys in a rambling demand letter pushing Trust and Maritime Law. Or to send it to Loretta Lynch.
I’m done. Happy Friday.