**see below, updates to follow
I was in court last week, facing charges of cruelty for not killing my missing, dying twenty-year old cat (killed by animal control), and had the following conversation with the judge:
Judge: “I am going to call your name and ask if you would like to see the D.A. and ask how you plead if not.”
Judge: “Tobiah Fernsler”
Me: “I am Tobiah Fernsler, here in propria persona to..”
Judge: “I’m just asking if you’re here and if you want to see the D.A. or not”
Me: “I am Tobiah Fernsler, here in propria persona by special appearance to clear up this matter”
Judge: “Do you want to see the D.A. or not?”
Me: “No I do not. I challenge the jurisdiction of the court”
Judge: “Are you drinking something?!
Me: “This is a water bottle. With water”
Judge: “Well take that out! We don’t allow drinks in court! You may also leave, I am already done with your case!”
Question: So what happened there?
I invoked the sovereign citizens* defence, based on Common Law and born in the Magna Carta and signed by King John on June 15, 1215 near Windsor England. I was ready to invoke the 6th Ammendment of the U.S. Constitution, but it never came up.
The basic premise of the Magna Carta is egalitarianism: you are all equal, and everybody (well, at the time every land-owning male) is a sovereign, and like a king. We can all go about our affairs, and are only subject to the law if we damage another or violate a contract. And there’s the rub, because when you are charged with a victimless crime, a contract with government is assumed, implied. And if you plead, appear or hire an attorney at arraignment, the contract is valid because you didn’t contest it.
So how do you contest it? How do you challenge the constitutionality of a law or court?
Good question, Toby. This is done by challenging jurisdiction, and the court has many ways to trick you into accepting jurisdiction. You don’t appear, you are there by special appearance. You don’t hire a lawyer, you have legal consul. You are pro pre (propria persona) and not pro se (“procede”). They will refer to you with your name in all caps, you should insist on lower-case. Signing-ink color matters.
When you sign something you don’t understand or want to sign, add “under duress” after your name. Or v.c. (vis coerco “compelled by force”).
However, if you simply state you are challenging jurisdiction and little else, that is likely to get the case dismissed. At that point you are calling for a jurisdictional hearing by a higher court and placing the burden of proof on the prosecutor for whether this case should procede. You are not even arguing over the merits of the charges, but the merits of the law, court, and prosecutor. Jurisdiction has 7 components, and sets a reasonably high bar. Also under Common Law you have the right to face your accuser, the injured party, before being punished. If there is no injured party, there can be no sentence.
I’ll be adding links and editing this document for some time, there’s a lot to go with it.
Toby Fernsler, Sheriff of Love
*See discussion with Guadagno, Attilio-Cesare in comments below.
**Wednesday evening 2015-12-16 Boulder city police knocked on my door and arrested me in my pajamas while playing with my daughter for not killing our missing cat. More technically, while the judge had told me she was done with my case, the court later scheduled a “Status Conference” which I did not attend, instead submitting a written statement reiterating my position. The police claimed a warrant had been issued for my arrest, which I never saw.
I’ve spent an entertaining 30 hours in the county jail, made some colorful friends and learned three new card games.
I sat in chains for 3.5 hours waiting my turn with the other arrestees at that hearing, while the only one there for murder walked in in his suit, took some pictures, got lectured by the judge, and walked right out. One junkie had a $120k bond for relapsing.