Setting The Stage
So I bought a new car back in January. A pretty mediocre Honda Accord. It does the job and is a good hunk of junk to tinker with. Still, for a guy saving every penny and working a restaurant job, it's worth something. Definitely would be a little upset if it were totalled.
Jumping back another 8 months or so to summer '18, I fell down a bit of a rabbit hole of legal "conspiracy theories". Now most of this information is wrapped in a not-so-thin wrapper of "crazy-person" lingo; which makes it a little difficult to digest sometimes. That said, there are many nuggets of wisdom that many people have contributed to these subjects. I'll always recommed 1215.org as a great source.
New car with little "baggage", a license about to expire, no registration, and no insurance. Well shoot why not go without and see if these legal theories can hold water. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a way to do this without actually being convicted. Research can be enjoyable, but for myself a real battle does a much better job at lighting a fire under my ass.
Not long after I made this decision I made the car purchase and was careful to document the purchase with a Bill of Sale (in case a cop wanted to try and claim the vehicle isn't mine). I went to a DMV and turned in my license in return for a statement that said I was unlicensed as far as the State of North Carolina was concerned. I got insurance that didn't require a driver's license, and got a "placeholder" plate that would keep me from being pulled over too often. But would clearly be not a "real" tag.
So with some slight regrets the inevitable came to pass. I got arrested.
What Happened❴My Perspective❵
I was pulled over late wednesday afternoon on the way to work. My conversation
with the cop did not go well. Let's be honest talking with cops who suspect
you, is not a skill I possess. But I did say something to the effect of:
I'd be happy to be cited and settle this in court. I'm on my way to work,
can't you just give me citations for whatever I'm charged with?
His answer was something like:
Well I had half a mind to let you go on your way, but I don't like
your attitude, and if you don't have insurance I'll have to take you in.
So after a struggle with my email, I finally found my insurance card in the glove box. Handed it to the cop, he went back to his vehicle, and 5 minutes later a fat,red-headed lady officer showed up and they both marched to my window. With no explanation of what was happening (whatever happened to the Miranda Rights recital?) he opened the door, firmly grabbed my arm, and instructed me to step out.
After an hour of waiting and traveling between locations I was told by a judge that I could be released with an unsecured bond of $500. Still not sure exactly what that means, but I was released without issue. Of course it was another 15½ hours of being trapped in town with no phone, before I got back home. But that's a whole 'nuther story for a different time.
Do what I can to clear my name and finish this case quickly. eg. get licensed again, pay $300, get refocused on life. Gather all the evidence I can and park the files somewhere. Sometime in the future when I have more time and cash in hand, go on the offensive with a serious lawsuit.
Gathering & Sorting It All
What Happened❴Legal-Tight Testimony❵
Shouldn't get far enough to need this.
My interaction with Officer _y began at approximately 3:50pm. Knowing that officers often jump to extremes and can be somewhat unpredictable I was careful with my wording. At one point I was led to believe that producing evidence of insurance would allow me to continue peacefully on my way. About 5 minutes after complying I was forcibly led out of my seat and restrained.
Exactly true. Exhibit G makes this abundantly clear.
Is that possible? What is a constitutionally unlawful operation of a motor vehicle?
I, the undersigned, find that the defendant named above has been arrested without a warrant and the defendant's detention is justified because there is probable cause to believe that on or about the date of offense shown and in the county named above the defendant named above unlawfully and willfully did operate a motor vehicle on INTERSECTION OF N MAIN ST AND __ DR. highway, without being licensed as a driver by the Division of Motor Vehicles of North Carolina.
Breaking Down the Order
This is a criminal case, being conducted in a District Court. It has an assigned file number. An "Offense", "Offense Code", and a cited statute. Numbers that are mostly inscrutable without someone who knows more.
Call the court.
Because not only do they know what's up, they are the gatekeepers for any paperwork I may file. Be kind, polite, genuinely interested in their life, and patient. But also keep pushing the questions I have.
What is the name of the scheduled proceeding? Arraignment? Is it possible to file a rebuttal before I make a plea? Can I file a paper instead of appearing?
Pro Se v. Pro Per
CSG maintains that representing oneself "pro se" is inferior to representing oneself "in propria persona" because the latter is essentially purer. Some interpretations of pro se could be construed so that the defendant has a dual role of defendant and lawyer. Whereas "pro per" maintains the defendant's status as a natural person with no representation.
Reading the definitions below I'm forced to conclude that there is very little reason to fear this. It may be true, but it likely won't affect my case. So let it be known that if this becomes my downfall, this is the moment (11pm, April 16, 2019) I have decided to neglect this advice.
Sec. 0, Relevant Quotes
U.S. Constitution, Amendment 6
In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
N.C. Constitution, Sec. 23, Rights of Accused.
In all criminal prosecutions, every person charged with crime has the right to be informed of the accusation and to confront the accusers and witnesses with other testimony, and to have counsel for defense, and not be compelled to give self-incriminating evidence, or to pay costs, jail fees, or necessary witness fees of the defense, unless found guilty.
Step 1, Judge Must Answer Questions
Is this true? I have a hard time believing this.
Must be asked if I understand the charges. They cannot procede until I acknowledge the charges (explicitly) and their jurisdiction (implicitly).
Say "NO!" when asked by the judge if I understand the charges. I must politely present my need to have answers. To encourage the judge to ask me exactly what it is that I do not understand.
Your Honor, the 6th Amendment to the United States Constitution
(and Sec. 23 of the N.C. Constitution's Declaration of Rights)
grants me the right to know the nature and cause at this action you are bringing
against me, and it grants you, the court, the duty to tell me. I do not understand
the nature and cause of this action which has been brought against me.
If presented properly the judge will have no choice but offer to answer my
What is it that you would like to know?
Step 2, Steering With Questions
Is this going to be a Civil action or a Criminal action?
This is likely to be the easiest part of the questions. After all it says on my paper that it's a Criminal action. But if he does I'll be more than happy to: object! and move for dismissal, for being in the wrong court.
If true I must know this as a matter of fact.
Your Honor, the Constitution grants this court
2 different criminal jurisdictions:
One is a criminal jurisdiction under a Common Law, and the other is a criminal
action that constitutes a condition of contract under the criminal aspects of
a colorable Admiralty jurisdiction. Under which of these 2 jurisdictions does
the court intent to try this criminal action?
phrase it differently?
The implied tone is playing with fire.
Do you have a copy of the Rules of Criminal Procedure under Statutory
Jurisdiction in your office that I could borrow? Where does this nature, cause, and
jurisdiction information exist? Do you know of a law library anywhere that has a copy
of these rules?
Since I am defending myself pro per,
isn't it your duty to specify which Rules of Criminal Procedure will be used,
so that I may conduct a fair defense in a fair trial?
You must tell me where I
can access a copy of the Rules.
Research thoroughly. This word is touchy.
Your Honor, you must realize that no courts in America have
without also having valid international contract in dispute. And I'm not
aware of having entered any international contract. So I deny that any such
contract exists. Now will you instruct the prosecuting attorney to inform
this court that there is a valid international contract in dispute, if there
is one; and to place this alleged international contract in evidence, if it
exists; and explain how I can be a party to it, if I am; and how I am
compelled to perform under it, if I am?
Is this necessary?
Even if this theory is correct and applicable this question breaks the first rule of Fight Club. Bad etiquette can only provoke resentment.
...And now since America only owes the debt by an invalid contract, how
as an American Citizen
Language. Gotta be very careful with keeping it respectful. Now in this case I'm not the Plaintiff. Which has a significant disadvantage in making it difficult to steer the court. However, making demands (even if justified) to the Magistrate will earn me no favors. Bill Thornton's advice of indirect wishes may be the road to take. Eg: it is my wish, my prayer, my desire, that etc.
Black's, 2nd Edition
- The stopping, seizing, or apprehending a person by lawful authority; the act of laying hands upon a person for the purpose of taking his body into custody of the law; the restraining of the liberty of a man's person in order to compel obedience to the order of a court of justice, or to prevent the commission of a crime, or to insure that a person charged or suspected of a crime may be forthcoming to answer it.
- Statute, n.
- An act of the legislature; a particular law enacted and established by the will of the legislative department of government, expressed with the requisite formalities.
- In Propria Persona.
- In one's own proper person.
- Legal; warranted or authorised by the law; having the qualifications prescribed by law; not contrary to nor forbidden by the law.
- The principal distinction between the terms "lawful" and "legal" is that the former contemplates the substance of law, the latter the form of law. To say of an act that it is "lawful" implies that it is authorised, sanctioned, or at any rate not forbidden, by law. To say that it is "legal" implies that it is done or performed in accordance with the forms and usages of law, or in a technical manner. In this sense "illegal" approaches the meaning of "invalid." For example, a contract or will, executed without the required formalities, might be said to be invalid or illegal, but could not be described as unlawful. Further, the word "lawful" more clearly implies an ethical content than does "legal." The latter goes no further than to denote compliance, with positive, technical, or formal rules; while the former usually imports a moral substance or ethical permissibility. A further distinction is that the word "legal" is used as the synonym of "constructive," which "lawful" is not. Thus "legal fraud" is fraud implied or inferred by law, or made out by construction. "Lawful fraud" would be a contradiction of terms. Again, "legal" is used as the antithesis of "equitable." Thus, we speak of "legal assets," "legal estate," etc., but not of "lawful assets," or "lawful estate." But there are some connections in which the two words are used as exact equivalents. Thus, a "lawful" writ, warrant, or process is the same as a "legal" writ, warrant, or process.
Pro Se v. In Propria Persona
Lawful v. Illegal
Black's, 9th Edition
- magistrate's court
- 1. A court with jurisdiction over minor criminal offenses. · Such a court also has the power to bind over for trial persons accused of more serious offenses. - Also termed police court.
- 2. A court with limited jurisdiction over minor criminal and civil matters. - Sometimes spelled (esp. in England) magistrates' court. -- Also termed (in England) court of petty sessions; court of summary jurisdiction.
- pro se
- adv. & adj. For oneself; on one's own behalf; without a lawyer.
- n. One who represents oneself in a court proceeding without the assistance of a lawyer.
- propria persona
- adj. & adv. In his own person; PRO SE.
Counsel for Sanity
Specific Advice, CSG
Now this Court Survival Guide is a peculiar thing. On the one hand most of it checks out logically. The advice sounds very reasonable, it isn't extreme, and encourages one to think for himself. On the other hand, this is just some strange document I found online. Using it as advice for a misdeanor case is putting an awful lot of trust in strangers.
...but based on my experiences you're often better off trusting strangers than the government. Just gotta keep a cool head and be very aware of any logical fallacies that may exist.