In this month’s Sovereign Files, a man who conned people into filing cases in a fake court is convicted on multiple charges; an Illinois man is charged with contempt of court for the second time in four years; a man who calls himself Church reveals plans to run for president upon his arrest; and more.
Sovereign citizens are a diverse group of individuals whose activities and motives vary, but whose core tenets are the typically the same. They view United States citizenship, established government, authority and institutions as illegitimate and consider themselves immune from, and therefore above, the law.
A number of sovereign citizens engage in fraudulent activity, using paper terrorism to achieve their agendas and commit crimes under the mistaken hope or belief that laws do not apply to them. Some plan or take part in protests against government agencies and institutions, like the ones organized by the Bundys in Bunkerville, Nevada, and the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon. Some have resorted to violence, including acts of domestic terrorism when they felt their freedoms were infringed upon.
Robert Earl Lawrence
Dashcam video, calls to dispatch and cellphone video relating to the December 14, 2014, officer-involved shooting death of Robert Earl Lawrence in Dothan, Alabama, have been released. The recordings were made public by the attorneys for Lawrence’s family, who are currently pursuing a civil case against the officer, Sgt. Adrianne Woodruff.
Footage includes Lawrence telling his girlfriend and three small children that “this will be good” and instructing her to use her cellphone to record his interaction with a police officer who was walking towards his car.
Lawrence was in an animal shelter parking lot. He had left the shelter agitated that they refused to take a dog he found in a Walmart parking lot unless he provided his ID. Lawrence declined to show one, and the on-site officer would not let him leave the property until he did.
Instead, Lawrence gave the officer an affidavit of identity, a sovereign document that included his name, photograph and thumbprint. The officer refused to give Lawrence the affidavit back and detained him until backup arrived.
The officers went to arrest Lawrence, who initially escaped them and ran around the car. They attempted to shock him with a Taser, but only got his coat before Lawrence managed to get a grip on a Taser and use it on one of the officers. Officer Woodruff responded by shooting Lawrence, who died from his injuries.
In July 2017, a grand jury examined the footage and refused to indict the officer. Now that footage will be used in the civil suit and is also available in the court of public opinion.
The June 2017 Sovereign Files reported that Leighton Ward, Clerk of the Federal Postal Court, which is a fake court run by sovereign citizens, was in jail in California, but his extradition to Arizona was likely.
Ward was sent to Arizona and tried in court for telling people their mortgages were fraudulent and then accepting money from them to file and adjudicate claims in his fake court. Ward and other “court” members would file the rulings in legitimate courts, creating a legal mess and causing people to default on their mortgages.
A jury found Ward guilty on 18 charges including theft, false notarization and forgery.
Timothy Jermaine Pate Aka Akenaten Ali
The Southern District of Georgia in Augusta has indicted Timothy Jermaine Pate, also known as Akenaten Ali, for filing false retaliatory liens against federal officials and making false bankruptcy declarations.
Between March and May 2018, Pate filed five bogus liens, using forms entitled “Notice of Claim of Maritime Lien” that he attached to involuntary bankruptcy petitions. Pate filed them as a creditor, claiming certain U.S. Department of Transportation officials, whom he listed as vessel owners, owed him between $15 and $33 million, for a total of $93 million.
The liens claimed to cover:
“All property including but not limited to: All bank accounts, safety deposit boxes, retirement funds, 801K’s, 401K’s, real estate, stocks, bonds, securities, cash on hand, jewelry, houses, land, motor vehicles, automobiles.”
Pate filed the documents under penalty of perjury.
He has been charged with 18 counts and faces up to 15 years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
Larry T. Evans Aka Mfalme El Bey
In May 2014, Moor Larry T. Evans, who also goes by the name Mfalme El Bey, was arrested and charged with trespassing and criminal damage after he attempted to take possession of a home he did not own. Evans filed paperwork with the county clerk claiming the home was stolen from the Moors, whom he says the home originally belonged to. He moved items onto the property and attempted to get utilities turned on using a “Moroccan National Identification,” which he said was on his tablet.
When Evans got to the courtroom in Marion County, he represented himself, claimed to be a “copper colored indigenous person” who did not speak English. He requested a Swahili translator, while holding up a Moroccan flag. Evans also accused the judge of breaking a peace treaty and told him to be quiet — in English.
Evans was found to be in contempt of court and sentenced to 30 days in jail.
Four years later, on August 4, 2018, Evans, who was arrested on outstanding warrants, reentered the Marion Country court and picked up where he left off. Evans cursed at the judge and told him not to talk while he was talking. Evans was once again charged with contempt and escorted from the courtroom.
In 2017, Thomas Benson was indicted on charges stemming from his illegal takeover of a Nevada home. Benson pleaded guilty in January 2018 and received suspended sentences in May as well as probation. He served a total of 173 days behind bars, and now is headed back to jail for attempting to intimidate a law enforcement officer investigating his case.
An Oklahoma City officer stopped Bryan Jackson, who was driving an SUV with a sign that said “Church for Hire” but had no Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or vehicle tags. According to News 9 in Oklahoma City, which posted a transcript of the interactions between Jackson and the officer, Jackson refused to give the officer any proof of insurance, claimed he did not need a driver’s license and said his name was Church.
Officer : Are you working with a church or something?
Jackson : Negative. My name is Church.
Officer : I gotcha. So is this like, what is this vehicle for then?
Jackson : It’s for me.
Officer : Why does it say not for hire on it?
Jackson : By law, it has to say that. If I’m conducting commerce, then I would have to say for hire.
Jackson : Well, um, I don’t need a driver’s license to drive because that’s for people conducting commerce. The problem is they don’t tell y'all that and they don’t tell the citizens that.
Jackson : I’m not required to answer that.
Officer : OK.
Jackson : By law but if you want to write me a ticket. I’ll go ahead and take the ticket. That way your day go by faster and mine.
Jackson also told the officer he planned to run for president.
He currently faces charges for driving under suspension, illegal tag display, failing to show proof of insurance and removing a VIN. He plans to represent himself in court and claims he is not a sovereign citizen, saying, “They’re something like terrorists towards the government and that’s not who I am or what I believe in.”