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February 20, 2014 6

Sovereign Citizen Group Forms Vigilante “Grand Juries”

Mem­bers of a grow­ing anti-government extrem­ist group are form­ing their own “grand juries” around the United States.  Some bogus “juries” have already issued demands against local gov­ern­ment officials. sovereign-citizen-vigilante-grand-juries

The National Lib­erty Alliance (NLA) is a rel­a­tively new sov­er­eign cit­i­zen group formed in 2011 as the New York Lib­erty Alliance by sov­er­eign cit­i­zen guru John Darash of Pough­keep­sie.  In April 2013, Darash changed the group’s name and began efforts to spread nation­wide, recruit­ing sov­er­eign cit­i­zens to its ban­ner.   The sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment is an extreme anti-government move­ment whose adher­ents believe that they can ignore vir­tu­ally all laws and reg­u­la­tions because the gov­ern­ment is the prod­uct of a malev­o­lent conspiracy.

Darash and his fol­low­ers have spent most of their time cre­at­ing so-called “Com­mon Law Grand Juries” (CLGJ) in coun­ties across the coun­try.  Accord­ing to the NLA, these bogus grand juries have the author­ity to con­duct inves­ti­ga­tions, issue indict­ments, and remove offi­cials from office.  

The sov­er­eign cit­i­zen move­ment has his­tor­i­cally cre­ated fic­ti­tious judi­cial or gov­ern­men­tal enti­ties, hav­ing formed var­i­ous “cit­i­zens’ grand juries” or “people’s grand juries” in the 1980s and 1990s, as well as hun­dreds of “com­mon law courts” in the 1990s.  The CLGJs are the lat­est vari­a­tions of this long-running theme.  The NLA claims to have formed more than 100 CLGJs in the past year, although many are still basi­cally notional.

Nev­er­the­less, those CLGJs that have formed have already begun harass­ing local gov­ern­ment offi­cials.  In Jan­u­ary 2014, CLGJs in Mar­ion and St. Johns coun­ties in Florida sent a “Writ of Man­damus” to county offi­cials demand­ing a bud­get of $1.5 mil­lion, office space and equip­ment, and a meet­ing room with a con­fer­ence table and com­fort­able chairs.  On Feb­ru­ary 4, the Mar­ion County CLGJ sent a “Notice of Demand” warn­ing county com­mis­sion­ers that the Jan­u­ary demands were not optional.

In New York, Darash’s CLGJs claim to have signed a “True Bill” charg­ing the chief court clerk in Greene County with numer­ous “crimes” related to her alleged fail­ure to file CLGJ paper­work.  They have also “fined” a Greene County judge the amount of 100 ounces of sil­ver, cit­ing 23 sep­a­rate “vio­la­tions” for fail­ing to pro­vide doc­u­ments to the CLGJ and for refus­ing to speak with a CLGJ “Board of Review.”  They have also pur­port­edly sent harass­ing doc­u­ments to a num­ber of judges.

How the CLGJ will enforce their alleged power remains murky.  Dur­ing an Inter­net radio inter­view, Darash said the NLA would con­tact county sher­iffs about mak­ing arrests; if a sher­iff refused to make an arrest, they would indict him and go to the under­sh­er­iff.  Darash con­cluded with a veiled threat: “Now there is another thing to do, if that doesn’t work.  I’m not ready to speak about that until we are ready to do it.  But it is an atomic bomb, it’s very strong.”

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