It should be no surprise that anti government folks seeking redress want someone besides the government to adjudicate for them. As a result, common law courts have sprung up across the United States. Many members of these courts are sovereign citizens who believe their judgments supersede federal and district court decisions, and then bring their quasi-legal activity into legitimate courts and use tactics including intimidation and paper terrorism.
The most notorious common law “Superior Court Judge of the Continental uNited States of America” is a man named Bruce Doucette. He is best known for coming to Harney County, Oregon in January 2016 to try the government for their actions during the Bundy occupation, using local residents as his jury pool, the same idea Ammon Bundy floated a month earlier. Prior to this Doucette had a “trial” in Costilla County, Colorado where he found local officials guilty and demanded they resign. Doucette claims he has set up these kangaroo courts in Alaska, Colorado, Florida and Hawaii. He has recruited other “judges” including Ronnie Davis, worked with common law “judge” Steve Curry, and his fake courts coordinate with groups of fake U.S. Marshals.
Doucette’s services and those of his local “court” have likely ended as he and seven other members of the Colorado People’s Grand Jury and the Continental United States Marshals Superior Court were arrested last Thursday after being indicted by a real Colorado grand jury. Doucette is facing 34 charges including conspiracy, pattern of racketeering, 15 counts of attempting to influence a public servant, seven counts of extortion, criminal impersonation, retaliation against a judge, tax evasion and more.
Defendants Brian Baylog, Janis Blease, Steven Byfield, David Coffelt, Laurence Goodman, Stephen Nalty, Harlan Smith and Doucette face a total of 40 different counts. These include violations of the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act.
According to the indictment, they “collaborated with one or more of the other principals and/or complicitors as part of a long term scheme and endeavor to initially attempt to influence various Colorado-based public servants, including Colorado State and Municipal Court Judges, prosecutors, sheriffs, and other public officials who in their legal capacities had responsibilities related to a legal matter which involved a member of this enterprise.”
The conspiracies began when one member of the enterprise was named in a criminal or civil proceeding and the outcome was unfavorable. One or more members would target public officials related to the litigation. First the aggrieved party would file a grievance with the Colorado People’s Grand Jury Administrator, defendant Stephen McNulty. The group would then demand the public servant dismiss the legal action or step down from their post. When this did not occur, the group would file documents—including liens or criminal complaints—against the public servants. They would often serve the public servants at their homes, demanding they pay their “debt” or be reported to a credit agency. These actions were generally approved via signature by the group’s members.
The defendant’s bond amounts vary between $100,000 and $200,000 and include conditions: They are not allowed any contact with each other or the other public servants listed in the indictment, they cannot possess any weapons and have to surrender their passports.
This is not the first crackdown on the illegal activities of common law courts, but this case will likely serve as the strongest warning so far that the “courts” use of intimidation to influence, or retaliate against public officials will not be tolerated.