You Can’t Use the Law to “Nullify the Law”
A Rant With a Lesson
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One of the “perks” of being a lawyer is that, in my practice, I get to see and hear some crazy shit. Some of it makes me want to drink. Some of it makes me laugh. A lot of it makes me scratch my head and wonder how people can be so stupid that they would even think–much less say–the things I sometimes hear.
One of the dumbest things I have ever heard / seen / read is this anarchist garbage blog called “Freedom Documents~ documents from sovereigns on how to attain freedom- Not legal advice-justwhat has worked for others”. By the way, it’s chock full of legal advice from a person who either is not a lawyer or should be disbarred, if they are one.
The article, “Refusing A Non-Substantive Offer (Nullify Commercial Law)”, in particular, is absolute gobbledygook. This bat-shit crazy article says, “Government has no jurisdiction under the constitution.”1 Then, the author goes on to write about how a person can use laws promulgated under the authority of the U.S. Government can “NULLIFY THE LAW” of that same government. Id.
I’m not even going to link to this site, because I don’t want to boost its SEO stats. Here is a selection of shit that is absolutely (1) legal advice, and (2) untrue from that garbage blog:
“Okay . . . virtually everything that the corporate government does and or serves on you, can be nullified nullified by simply writing across the ‘instrument’ or ‘item’ ‘Returned for Cause, Without Commercial Dishonor and No Recourse’ . . . and above your signature write ‘Without Prejudice UCC 1-308’.”
I cannot imagine what sort of diseased brain would have spewed forth what utter nonsense.
Now, you’re probably wondering why I would take up precious space on my own very respectable blog to rant about insane anarchist bullshit in some obscure, random corner of the Internet. Here’s the reason.
What if–hypothetically, speaking–I was to receive a call from a person who said they wanted to discuss a “UCC-1 Filing.” Let us further suppose that this person seemed pretty normal, on the phone, though, perhaps, they did mumble a lot on the phone (yellow flag; almost always a sign there’s something wrong; beware mumblers). Let’s say–again, totally hypothetically–that I made an appointment with this person.
Now, for those of you who don’t know, “a UCC1 Financing Statement (Uniform Commercial Code-1) is a legal form that creditors file when giving notice that they have an interest (“security interest”) in the personal property of a delinquent debtor. This form is filed in order to “perfect” a creditor’s “security interest” by giving public notice that there is a desire to take possession of certain assets for repayment of a specific debt. Once the form has been filed the creditor may move forward in the process of appropriating the “perfected” assets of a debtor that is of equal value to the debt owed.”2 This type of document is almost always used in connection with a secured loan, and this process is called “perfecting the security interest.”
It is entirely possible that it could turn out that this totally hypothetical person who, in our example, wanted to meet with me was interested in filing a UCC-1 Financing Statement to establish their authority over … themselves. Rather, the hypothetical person might have wanted to establish authority over their own property, or something. Essentially, in this hypothetical example, this totally-fictitious-absolutely-not-real-and-just-made-up-for-this-story-and-not-because-this-really-happened-because-it-totally-didn’t person was interested in trying to “liberate” themselves and / or their property “from the state” or “the man” or whatever. Maybe–JUST MAYBE–this hypothetical person in my made-up-example-story had bought into this insane anarchist bullshit they read on the “Freedom Documents” blog:
“Did you know the UNITED STATES actually defines the fictitious entity spelled like your name with upper case letters as a ‘corporation’? The definition is in 15 USCA (United States Code Annotated) section 44;
‘”Corporation” shall be deemed to include any company, trust, so-called Massachusetts trust, or association, incorporated or unincorporated, which is organized to carry on business for its own profit or that of its members,….’
So if the state has created this ‘unincorporated corporation’ then does it have authority over it? Yes it does. And until you give them notice otherwise, they will always have authority over it. That is what a UCC-1 Financing Statement does, it gives public notice that you, the secured party, have a claim against the debtor, the unincorporated corporation. Now when you file this notice, you take this entity ‘out of the state’, out of the jurisdiction of a fictitious entity and into the private venue, your kingdom, and thus the entity becomes ‘foreign’ to the state and now it becomes an unincorporated foreign corporation to the state. Sounds like an oxymoron, but then again, I am using THEIR terminology!”
That is all entirely wrong, by the way; and it’s clear the person who wrote it is not a lawyer, and probably could not pass a bar exam in any state, even if they managed to graduate from a law school (highly unlikely). Nevertheless, a hypothetical person who might have wanted to meet with me could have swallowed this bullshit hook, line, and sinker. Such a made-up-example-person might have even said to me that they had “done a lot of research.”
OH REALLY?! WELL… I didn’t realize you had done “a lot of research” on the Internet! THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING!
NEWSFLASH: READING INSANE ANARCHIST WEBSITES IS NOT RESEARCH! (…unless you’re studying anarchists as part of some legit academic exercise, or something, not because you actually believe what the crazy people are writing.)
Look, I get it. I do. The world is fucked-up. It seems like there is no place left on the planet for people who crave liberty, who just want to work hard, earn a living, and not get robbed by their government for their trouble. I understand the urge to want to be your own “sovereign citizen“, answerable only to God and your own conscience or Church. I really do understand all that.
None of that justifies engaging in anarchist, irrational, conspiracy-theory, tin-foil-hat foolishness. The kind of bunk, drivel, and gibberish on the “Freedom Documents” blog, alone, is bad enough, but there are hundreds or thousands of such blogs on the Internet. A person cannot live a good, whole, prosperous life according to that kind of hogwash.
Here’s the real take-home point, though, folks: doing the things prescribed on websites like “Freedom Documents” very likely, eventually, will land you behind bars. In Tennessee, for example, “[p]ursuant to T.C.A. § 39-17-117, it is a Class E felony for any person to knowingly prepare, sign, or file any lien or other document with the intent to encumber any real or personal property when such person has no reasonable basis or any legal cause to place such lien or encumbrance on such real or personal property.”3 In Tennessee, a Class E felony is punishable by one (1) to six (6) years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $3,000. Tenn. Ann. Code § 40-35-111.
“According to The New York Times, cases involving so-called sovereign citizens pose ‘a challenge to law enforcement officers and court officials’ in connection with the filing of false notices of liens—a tactic sometimes called ‘paper terrorism.'”4 That’s not how our system of government, or our society, is supposed to work.
I will say one thing in favor of the absolutely-not-a-real-person-who-doesn’t-exist-and-is-only-imaginary-for-the-purposes-of-this-blog post who, in our made up story, might have wanted to meet with me, though. They may have bought into anarchist bullshit without thinking too much about it, and they might have–out of ignorance–been interested in engaging in some kind of “paper terrorism” (though I doubt it; I think the idea of being a “sovereign citizen” just appealed to them); but at least they sought legal advice. By the way, I probably would have to decline to assist even a hypothetical person (and I would definitely have to decline assisting a real person) in filling out the UCC-1 form under the above-described circumstances. It would be unethical and illegal to do so. Still, I imagine that when I would decline to help the hypothetical person in my made-up example in this blog post, they would immediately lose interest in everything I had to say–including the warnings about doing what they had set out to do. So, “ten out of ten for style, but minus several million for good thinking”, as Douglas Adams might say.
Apparently, for some (totally imaginary) people, “doing a lot of research” into insane anarchist bullshit on the Internet is more persuasive than the opinion of a licensed attorney. That is, until they’re brought up on Class E felony charges for paper terrorism. At that point, maybe such a hypothetical individual will heed their [court-appointed] attorney’s advice.
The moral of this story? Stay off crazy blogs, and if you do happen to catch the intellectual equivalent of an STD from one of them, take the good advice your lawyer prescribes for you. There may be a burning sensation as the nonsense leaves your system (“purgation”), but you should be back to normal after a brief recovery period.
1 Eowyndbh. (2012, July 01). Refusing A Non-Substantive Offer (Nullify Commercial Law). Retrieved February 22, 2017, from https://keystoliberty2.wordpress.com/tag/ucc-1-103/
2 Miguel (2008, January 22). What is a UCC1 Financing Statement? Retrieved February 22, 2017, from http://www.findlegalforms.com/articles/form-encyclopedia/what-is-a-ucc1-financing-statement
3 Tennessee Secretary of State (Ed.). (2013, July 12). UCC 1 Financing Statement Instructions – UCC Services Online. Retrieved February 22, 2017, from https://tnbear.tn.gov/UCC/Ecommerce/UCCFilingInstr.aspx
4 Wikimedia (Ed.). (2017, February 22). Sovereign Citizen Movement. Retrieved February 22, 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereign_citizen_movement#Filing_of_false_lien_notices (See also, Erica Goode (August 23, 2013). “In Paper War, Flood of Liens Is the Weapon”. The New York Times. Retrieved August 24, 2013.)
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