Sovereign Citizen Theory and Darrell Brooks

Sovereign Citizen Theory and Darrell Brooks

Sovereign Citizen Theory and Darrell Brooks If you are watching the Darrell Brooks trial. You will know he is claiming to be a “sovereign citizen.” Most criminal defense attorneys have heard of this theory/defense but don’t really understand it. So I thought I would explain the basic assertions of the theory.

Sovereign Citizen Theory and Darrell Brooks believe the government has no inherent power over individual citizens, unless those citizens consent to the government exercising such jurisdiction. They believe there are two types of people: “natural persons” and “artificial/fictitious persons.” Artificial/fictitious persons are subject to the jurisdiction of the government. But a person can shed/reject his artificial personhood and become a “natural person” who is not subject to the jurisdiction of the government. This is why Brooks objects every time someone refers to him as “Darrell Brooks.” Presumably he has shed that “fictitious” identity and is now a “natural person.” This is also why he opens every day of the trial complaining that no one has established subject matter jurisdiction over him.

Sovereign citizens also believe that only a “natural person” can be the victim of a crime. This is why Brooks asks each witness whether a specific person filed a complaint, and he tries to get each witness to acknowledge that the State of Wisconsin is an entity and not a “natural person.”

Courts all over the country have rejected the Sovereign Citizen theory, and it most certainly will not work here. Many have questioned whether Brooks truly believes in the theory or is hoping to use it to escape liability. Those who truly believe they are sovereign citizens live their lives differently. In that they often believe they are not require to pay taxes. They do not need driver’s licenses or other forms of government-issued identification, etc. They also refuse to identify as the name given on their birth certificate, as that is the name of the “fictitious” identity they rejected. But Brooks, on the evening of his arrest, identified himself as “Darrell Brooks.” His government-issued identification card was found, along with several bank-issued cards bearing that name.

Like most “sovereign citizens,” Brooks is representing himself at trial. His defense should be interesting to watch.

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