OA12: Tax Protesters, Sovereign Citizens, and Other Wackiness

In this episode, we delve into the wacky world of tax protesters and “sovereign citizens,” people who believe that the legal world is a magical place filled with secret code words that, if invoked properly, can force the Illuminati-run courts to admit you into the secret chamber where nobody has to pay their taxes or be held responsible for anything.

In our opening segment, we tackle a serious question from Matthew Maxon, who asks why lawyer fees are so damn expensive.  In answering (and also not answering) the question, Andrew gives us some practical tips on how best to choose an attorney and how to avoid paying too much for too little in services.

Finally, in our closing segment, we discuss Vulgarity for Charity 2, which brings together your favorite podcasters to raise money for Modest Needs.

Show Notes & Links

  1. Please check out Vulgarity for Charity 2, and please consider supporting the Modest Needs charity.
  2. As skeptics, you might want to read Charity Navigator’s report on Modest Needs, which gives them high marks for transparency and minimizing overhead costs.
  3. You absolutely MUST watch this amazing video advising you how to “win” your case by mouthing a whole bunch of crazy that neither you nor the sitting judge is likely to understand.
  4. Here’s a link to the Nonnie Chrystal v. Huntington Nat’l Bank decision we discuss, where you can see the delightful lower case and punctuation marks sovereign citizens use (unsucessfully) to evade jurisdiction.  “Ambassador nonnie: chrystal”, indeed.
  5. Finally, here’s the legal definition of capitis diminutio maxima, which — you may notice — has nothing to do with whether a document contains capital letters.

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4 Replies to “OA12: Tax Protesters, Sovereign Citizens, and Other Wackiness”

  1. Episode 12 on Sovereign Citizens, etc. cleared up a few mysteries for me. I’m a Probation Agent, and when one of my clients reported in knowing he was going into custody, made reference to the gold emblems on the state flag hanging in our office, and I’ve never been able to figure out why! He also asked me if I was acting legally and under oath. He also tries to sign his name as an odd symbol rather than his name, but he’s complied with my directive to sign his legal name. His focus is on Freemasonry; do you know of a connection between these groups? Any tips for dealing with his legal conspiracies?

    1. I don’t know of any connection between the sovereign citizen movement and Freemasonry; sorry.

      I would be on the lookout for questions that he may ask you that have a false predicate or sound canned. So if he says “Are you proceeding under admiralty law or common law?” instead of answering, say, “I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you’re asking. Can you put that into your own words for me?” Like anyone who’s following a script, getting them off it can help with defusing the crazy.

      Good luck! Please share any stories.

  2. One thing I saw one of these people argue was that the 16th ammendment was not properly ratified, so income tax is still not legal
    I had a quick look, and it seems to be based on the idea that the text the states voted on was slightly different to the on that passed Congress, but that the courts have ruled against this whole argument.
    Still, it was probably something that could have been mentioned

    1. Sorry! We just barely scratched the surface of the wacky claims that are out there.

      The “not properly ratified” argument is nonsense; it’s based on typographical errors and other goofball claims that are only comprehensible if you believe in the “magic words” theory of law. It was considered and soundly rejected by U.S. v. Thomas, 788 F.2d 1250 (7th Cir. 1986), cert denied, 107 S.Ct. 187 (1986).

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