The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Alabama ‘Sovereign’ Kingpin Loses Land, Prompting Worries

By Ryan Lenz on March 1, 2012 - 4:42 pm, Posted in Sovereign Citizens

Not even antigovernment “sovereign citizen” James Timothy Turner, who has made a living teaching people sovereign tactics he claims will allow them to beat the banks, can save himself when it comes right down to it.

On Feb. 22, Hatewatch has learned, the People’s South Bank in Ozark, Ala., foreclosed on two parcels of rural land totaling roughly 52 acres after Turner failed to make payments on a mortgage dating to June 2006. The same day the foreclosure was filed, the land was auctioned off on the steps of the Dale County Courthouse. The bank bought the land, and there wasn’t a peep of protest from Turner, a man who tells others how to defy the government. He didn’t even show.

But it’s the weeks ahead that have some in law enforcement worried. Will the man who has professed defiance of government for years stand idly by as the courts deliver an eviction notice? Or will the “president” of the Republic for the united States of American (RuSA), the nation’s largest sovereign group, stand firm against what he has called “the big tyrannical federal government” and its banks?

Law enforcement officials in Alabama told Hatewatch this week that they are concerned. Because Turner didn’t act to forestall the loss of his land, they fear he may have other plans. After all, Turner made his name in the movement lecturing followers on how to prevent exactly what just happened to him — foreclosure.

“There’s an eviction to be delivered. Is he going to peacefully clear the premise? Or is he going to stand there and not let us take it? That’s what he’s trained everyone to do,” said one official close the case, who asked for anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation. Several others in law enforcement expressed similar worries. Turner has declined repeated requests for comment.

This isn’t the first time Turner has drawn scrutiny. In 2010, while a member of a predecessor group, the Guardians for the free Republics, Turner signed and helped send letters to all 50 U.S. governors demanding they step down, or else. The aggressively worded letters launched the one-time commercial fisherman into the stratosphere of sovereign fame — and caused serious worries among federal law enforcement officials, who weren’t sure if any action would follow. None did, but law enforcement officials have continued to keep on eye on Turner.

As president of RuSA, Turner says the federal government is illegitimate, and that he is helping to “reinhabit” the true government. With a presence in nearly every state, Turner’s group has set about to form a kind of government-in-waiting for the day the federal government collapses. Given the threatening sound of that, plus a history of some violence from some RuSA member already, law enforcement officials are worried.

Last month, for example, Hatewatch confirmed that a man found dead with his 9-year-old son in the charred remains of their West Virginia trailer home –– a scene that bore all the signs of a murder-suicide –– had been a “congressman” in Turner’s group. In another case, police in Page, Ariz., last year shot and killed William Foust after he tried to wrestle away an officer’s Taser during an argument. By day, Foust was a prominent businessman. Privately, he was RuSA’s “chief justice,” the man designated to serve as the state’s leading legal officer.

Those deaths and RuSA’s increasing prominence nationwide have prompted the FBI, which has grown increasingly concerned about Turner and RuSA, to hold a news conference last month announcing they were dedicating more attention to the sovereign citizen movement. Sovereigns generally believe that they are immune to most federal criminal and tax laws.

  • Private

    I would like to see updates on the indictment of James T. Turner. His case was presented today.
    There is much to be concerned about regarding this organization. They have enough personal information on most of their members that it would be easy to do identity ‘theft’. They have willingly given it up even. There are also presenting enough truth that folks don’t see the ‘lesser lies’. The scams and the manipulation within their powers of suggestions. It is alarming to know how rooted alot of members are in this. This organization is nothing but rebellion, a waste of time and of finances for it’s members and a harvesting place for the leaders of intention to take advantage of those who mean well.


  • Aron

    Hey Jeannie the Jester is back! Just keep spreadin your baseless garbage, dearie. I’m sure some gullible fool will take it as canon.

    Until then, would you mind giving a little backstory about your organization that you claim the SPLC ‘destroyed?’

  • Jeannie

    I will stand by patriot citizens of America before I ever stand by lawyers! SPLC is full of lying lawyer thieves who obviously work for the bad guys! How can you tell when a lawyer is lying? His lips move! More and more the Southern Poverty Law Center loses its credibility. The SLPC are evil lawyers and their organization should be shut down and investigated!!!

  • DarthEVaderCheney

    Well, this whole situation brings Osama Been (sic) Laden to mind. Do we need another incident for Jason and Turner?? Not a bad idea!

  • Seven

    >>>Communists are spreading lies about him.

    Communists? How 1988.

  • IThink

    Jason Smith said,
    ON MARCH 1ST, 2012 AT 6:09 PM
    James Timothy Turner is a civil rights activist and community organizer. I am familiar with this man and his teachings. He is good. He is moral. He is ethical. Communists are spreading lies about him.

    ^Everyone’s already ripped up the faultless troll for all he is above, but I just have to highlight how hilarious it is how he used communism in this context to its actual meaning, and that he still considers the remotest of threats in the great continuum of reality. Sad but true that million of Teabaggers and Rethuglicans share his mindset…

  • Linnea

    CriticalDragon, Jason probably doesn’t know what “evidence” is.

  • Aron


    Considering that we have now confirmed that Jason is a zombie, there is definitely still the possibility that his IS, in fact, Andrew Breitbart.

  • Gregory

    At least we can be reasonably certain that “Jason Smith” is not Andrew Breitbart.

  • CriticalDragon1177

    Jason Smith

    You Wrote,
    James Timothy Turner is a civil rights activist and community organizer. I am familiar with this man and his teachings. He is good. He is moral. He is ethical. Communists are spreading lies about him.

    Care to back up that statement with some actual evidence?

  • Aron

    Mitch, thanks for the clarification. I had always assumed that Jason was among the living dead, but you have now confirmed it for me.

    Time to get in touch with Bruce Campbell.

  • Mitch Beales

    No Aron Jason means civil rights for “white people” aka zombies. Being called “good”, “moral”, or “ethical” by Jason Smith should be enough to damn anyone.

  • Aron

    Jason, I thought community organizers were ALL communists?

  • Jason Smith

    James Timothy Turner is a civil rights activist and community organizer. I am familiar with this man and his teachings. He is good. He is moral. He is ethical. Communists are spreading lies about him.