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“Sovereign Citizens” Taking Over Vacant Homes in Atlanta

This is certain to end well (also reported here).

A group of people calling themselves “sovereign citizens” have decided that banks and governments cannot legally own property. They just…decided that that’s the case, and boy howdy are they sticking to it.

They’ve begun moving into unoccupied, bank-owned homes, changing the locks, and putting up “no trespassing” signs around the property. I probably shouldn’t have to tell you that these actions have no legal basis, and anyone who persists in illegally occupying a bank-owned home (yes, Virginia, banks can own property) will be forcefully evicted, and possibly arrested for trespassing.

Now, there have been other stories of homeless or otherwise destitute individuals and families moving into foreclosed homes temporarily. While I don’t condone such conduct, this isn’t comparable. Someone who temporarily occupies a foreclosed home to keep from freezing to death, knowing that what they’re doing is illegal, and presumably willing to accept the legal consequences, is very different from somebody who deliberately concocts a crackpot legal argument, then sanctimoniously occupies someone else’s property (having the gall to put up “no trespassing” signs, for example).

Crackpot groups like “sovereign citizens,” “freemen on the land,” and others have been around for a while. However, it seems like these groups have become more common in recent years. Or maybe they’re simply becoming more vocal, and getting more attention. We did, after all, see a brief spike in the activities of far-right militias during the Clinton years. Perhaps there’s just a certain group of people who get really riled up whenever we have a Democrat for a president, and who bristle at even the smallest expansion of federal power (real or imagined).

While these groups differ in their exact ideologies, they do share a common element: they firmly believe in bizarre legal theories, and base their actions on these theories, even though they have never been successfully used in court, and have no basis in constitutional, statutory, or case law.

While someone who has studied the law can usually recognize these legal arguments as ridiculous on their face, laypersons are sometimes taken in by them, because sometimes they seem intuitively reasonable, and if they’re correct (which they’re not), they would relieve individuals of a great deal of accountability to the law. And who hasn’t craved that every once in a while?

These “arguments” are numerous, but I’m going to discuss a few of the more common ones, and explain why they’re wrong.

Myth: An indictment/court summons/tax bill/parking ticket has my name in ALL CAPS. I don’t spell my name in all caps. Therefore, the legal document doesn’t actually address me, and I don’t have to respond to it.

Fact: I honestly can’t believe people still buy this one. The basic argument is that, because all the relevant court documents wrote your name in all caps, it actually addresses someone else, and you can’t be forced to obey the court order without violating your right to due process (which requires, among other things, that defendants be given notice of the crimes they’re charged with). Every court that has been presented with this argument has dismissed it out of hand, as patently frivolous. Sometimes, they’ll impose sanctions on parties who employ these frivolous arguments, if the court believes they should have known better. Honestly, do you think that, if this argument had any legal merit whatsoever, court documents would still list names of parties in all caps?

Myth: Banks and the government cannot own property.

Fact: Yes, they can. Honestly, I don’t know how to put it more simply than this. Even if you believe with absolute certainty that there’s some secret code in the constitution, the bible, or whatever, which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Founding Fathers/God/The Flying Spaghetti Monster never intended for banks to be able to own property, everyone else disagrees with you. So, like it or not, banks do have a legal property interest in the properties they foreclose, and the courts and police are going to enforce those rights.

Myth: I don’t have to pay taxes.

Fact: Yes, you do. If you think you’ve come up with some bombproof, ironclad, original legal argument that you think will get you off the hook come tax time, chances are someone else has already thought it up, and it’s failed. Just so you know, the income tax is constitutional, and all arguments to the contrary have been rejected as frivolous.

Myth: I can enjoy all the benefits of being a U.S. citizen, and squirm my way out of most of the responsibilities.

Fact: Really, that’s what all of these phony legal arguments are about – a desire to get something for nothing. Whether it involves getting a free house, or enjoying government services without paying taxes, these arguments are not rooted in some principled desire to protect individual liberty. It should go without saying that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

These are just a few of the baseless legal positions that fringe groups cling to. There are plenty of others, most of them equally ridiculous. If you really need legal advice, you should seek the assistance of a lawyer, not somebody wearing a sandwich board on the street.


  • Micheal

    I take your point but every agreement is based on a contract law if that contract is legally cancelled and a new one has been made through the correct legal procedure this cannot be challenged as that is the option Law gives to make it enforceable through a court or other.

    A bank has the right to take a home away from you because you signed an agreement (contract) to allow this to happen if you do not keep up repayments on the property conditions set out in that legally binding agreement however when the Bank has not followed Lawfull procedure in obtaining that agreement to give full disclosure to the borrower it becomes void not enforceable legally but that is upto the individual to find were they broke the Contract Law and legally speaking the Bank owns the house only if the individual gives them that right otherwise they would have the right to own every property whether there was a mortgage or not.

    Furthermore old red indian proverb “nothing can ever be owned” because banks will change goverments will change in constant changing of hands that what that means but I cannot spend the next several years trying to educate you on this matter.

    Love Truth and Peace


    It would appear that you do not know the in-depth language of the I.R.S. Codes & Statues; the I.R.S. has no laws as they are not a Government Agency! They are a quasi-private organization, Incorporated in the State Delaware, and leases themselves out to Uncle Sam.

    This being said, you probably do not know who the I.R.S. Codes & Statues was/were written/intended for; therefore, in like manner, it is unlikely you can give a viable definition of “Profit and/or Gains” as originally set out in the I.R.S. Code.

    If you have a desire for people to want to read your article, and have respect for your opinions, a good start would be to utilize correct English as opposed to disgracing it with chopped-up abbreviations, e.g., ain’t. can’t, hasn’t, that’s, they’ve and so on. I have been down this road, many years ago, and won my case because I knew the in-depth Codes and Statues of the I.R.S. and they did not (at the time).

    Because the I.R.S. is a private organization, on loan to Uncle Sam, the U.S. Government refuses to control their, oftentimes ill-egal, conduct; as in the death of an elderly man in Alaska who was plummeted to death with a tire-iron when he and elderly wife was dragged from their V.W. Bus for not paying their taxes; of under $50.00. This is just “one” of “many” examples! Nuff Said.

    Please note that my intent in addressing this Blog is an honorable one and not designed to degrade you and/or your article. Rather its intended purpose is to enlighten you on some of the issues you have opted to bring forth.

  • Emmanuel Hall


  • admin

    Yes, this “sight” is for jokes.

    For example:

    Q: How many sovereign citizens does it take to screw in a lightbulb?


  • notnecessary

    hmmm, Mr. Richards… do not see any CODES, REGULATIONS nor LAWS etc. to support your statements, either. sigh…

  • Robert

    1. Income tax is NOT Constitutional, as it is not an “apportioned” tax. that ge

    2. Income tax is not legal, as it was never ratified by a majority of the states.

    3.There is no statute in their books that gives them the right to collect from non-UNITED STATES citizens.

    4. Income is defined as gains from corporate enterprises. This goes not include wages, since wages are a gift of barter, time for money.

    5. A “taxpayer is defined as “one who gains from corporate activities,” or in other words, profit. Since most employees are not gaining from corporate profit, but are working for wages, they do not qualify as a taxpayer.

    6. Most importantly, I did not sign any contract with the government relinquishing my sovereignty. All contracts used by the government are acting in fraud, since they operate with hidden clauses and do not divulge these to the people.

    The only way to know this is to research the Law and know how it operates, which, from the above article, I see y.ou need to do more of, and not just what they tell you to sudy as a lawyer. Lawyers are representatives of the courts, never the people.

  • clarence jr.

    Your post is frivilous and has no legal basis for your assumptions. The well pleade facts are that. True and supported by so much case law that you can readily verify at law libraries, Court Records House and Senate minutes. Also on the web. You speak like ,ost who are zombie UNITED STATES Citizens. Are you may be helping the criminals as a choice of will or by being likewise mislead. Being wrong about what you think you know is not to your advantage. Get educated on the truth behind what you think is the facts and truth you’ve bein taught.

  • TyranniCull Ent.

    The Leftists always employ “ridicule” to oppress the truths they find inconvenient.

    “Little souls wish you to be unhappy. It aggravates them to have you joyous, efficient and free. They like to feel that fate is disciplining you. It gives their egos wings if yours are clipped. You can ruin your life in an hour by listening to their puerile opinions.” — David Seabury

    At the end of the day, the BAR rules the world and the Pope owns it. If you have a position or possession to defend, exercise your second Amendment right to do so.

    A man cannot be “free” and “obedient” at the same time.

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