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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments


Jim Sanders is a nut:

LAFAYETTE, Ind. —  Jim Sanders doesn't believe law enforcement can pull over vehicles simply for speeding.

The north-central Indiana man also believes that being stopped constitutes a false emergency and that being held for more than a minute is an arrest. Sanders considers himself a "sovereign man" or a "freeman," asserting that American-born citizens answer only to independent authority and not the government, the Journal & Courier reports.

A Tippecanoe Superior Court jury found Sanders guilty last November following a jury trial that lasted about eight hours — the longest jury trial for a traffic infraction that Judge Michael Morrissey has presided over. The jury found Sanders liable for driving 65 mph in a 50 mph zone. He paid the $153 fine with a brick-sized box full of loose dollar coins, loose pennies and a few rolls of dimes to pay the fine.

What the heck is an "independent authority'? is the first question I'd ask. "Sovereign citizens" apparently interpret a particular Supreme Court decision (Chisolm v. Georgia) as declaring us all soverigns subject only to "God, the Constitution and 'lawful laws.' " Who gets to decide which laws are lawful? The individual soverign, I guess, which is pretty close to anarchy (the form of government I would choose for myself, of course, but would not trust to everybody else). It's pretty funny when you think about it -- these people object to extra-constitutional authority and justify it by citing the Supreme Court, which is the epitome of extra-constituional authority.

Some of the most dangerous people in America are those who either have a limited understanding of the Constitution or deliberately misinterpret it to justify their agendas. President Obama comes to mind.