INVESTIGATION: Sovereign citizens in Oklahoma | News
Law enforcement is paying special attention to a re-surging group of individual extremists; sovereign citizens.
They are anti-government Americans who believe the U.S. government has no authority.
The movement has no central leadership; their organization is loose at best.
The Southern Poverty Law Center estimates at least 100,000 sovereigns living in the US right now.
According to SPLC, another 200,000 people are currently testing out sovereign legal strategies in courts across the country.
SPLC has issued a warning to law enforcement across America, as sovereign citizens have been known to be violent.
Three years ago in West Memphis, Arkansas two sovereign citizens, a father and his son, shot and killed two police officers during a traffic stop.
There have been dozens of incidents involving law enforcement and sovereign citizens.
Here’s a Southern Poverty Law Center educational video about sovereign citizens:
The average sovereign citizen is broke, sometimes facing foreclosure.
They do not pay taxes or carry a driver’s license.
Some have a history of violence.
Howard said he was a sovereign citizen and the law of the land did not apply to him.
The world-wide web has been a handy tool in sovereign circles, spreading tactics of their particular flavor of lawlessness.
Sovereign citizens usually represent themselves in court, filing nonsensical paperwork on their own behalf.
Many sovereigns document their struggles to be taken seriously, then post them online.
They rarely have much success.
Here’s a YouTube posting from a sovereign citizen who was tased by a bailiff when he disregarded the court’s policy on cameras in the courtroom:
Here’s a YouTube posting from a sovereign citizen who video-taped his court proceeding:
Oklahoma City University constitutional law expert Marc Blitz said these are interesting times for constitutional law.
“What I understand people in some of these cases are doing is making the argument that the original constitutional order left people free from the authority of the federal government and maybe from laws at the state level as well,” Blitz said. “So (they say) ‘You can’t apply these laws to me.’ Not surprisingly, the judges have said, ‘Yes we can.’”
Miller’s case came to a head late last year in Payne County when Bank of America started foreclosure proceedings against Miller and his wife, Christina Miller.
The Millers appeared before Payne County Judge Phillip Corley Jr last December when, according to the court record, Miller refused to answer basic questions like his name.
The Payne County Sheriff’s Department got some advanced warning about the sovereigns on the court docket and prepared by bringing at least a half-dozen deputies into the courtroom that day.
Miller did not leave the courthouse that day.
Judge Corley sentenced Miller to 30 days behind bars for contempt because he refused to recognize the authority of the court.
We attempted to talk with Miller about his court case and his sovereign ideology when we caught up with him in downtown Stillwater.
Miller said, “no comment” and, ironically, took refuge from our cameras inside the Stillwater Police Department.
The Oklahoma City FBI office declined our request for an interview about the resurgence of the sovereign citizen movement in Oklahoma.
Bank of America continues to move forward with the foreclosure case against the Millers.
According to a neighbor, Steven and Christina Miller and their two young children are still living in the home on West Brooke Avenue.