11

A colleague recently shared An Open Letter to Sheriff Ward of Harney County Oregon - and to All County Sheriffs in America from Judge Anna

This letter makes a number of claims, among which:

  • Americans' civil records have been falsified - nearly all citizens have been declared "foundlings" (no legal parents on record) in order to declare us wards of the Washington DC municipal corporation and change our natural venue to international/maritime courts;

  • Capitalized names refer to corporate entities associated with individuals; e.g., John Doe refers to the person and JOHN DOE to the corporate entity created for John Doe. This treatment makes it appear that the government has more control than they would over a natural person.

  • At a meeting of the UN Trust Committee - North America, it was claimed that the States of America no longer exist and are "civilly dead" and "depopulated" and that there are no American citizens.

Is the federal US government playing games with people's citizenship and human rights as indicated above? Are citizens "wards of the state" in any way and would this have any legal bearing on the court system's jurisdiction? Are claims being made that the US is civilly dead and that there are no US citizens? Are corporations created for individuals referenced by capitalized names in a move to deny rights?

  • 2
    Anybody with a birth certificate has 'parents of record'. – DJClayworth Jan 19 '16 at 17:36
  • 25
    I think it's best to stop creating questions like this. Let's address the ones already asked. Because the answer for all of them is "these are the ravings of a deranged person" , but they just take time to assemble the facts. – DJClayworth Jan 19 '16 at 17:41
  • 2
    I'm not sure how one would investigate any of these three. They're statements that completely contradict official statements, official documents, and/or a normal understanding of how the world works. To be true, I think there'd need to be an invisible conspiracy behind the scenes—something hard to disprove. (For example, one might search a long list of UN committess and find no "UN Trust Committee". Well of course! They call themselves something different publicly...and so on...) If Ms. Riezinger had given any evidence for these claims, it might be easier to deal with those pieces of evidence. – Dan Getz Jan 19 '16 at 18:29
  • 1
    If someone's up to it, her web site has a list of other documents she's written. Maybe she includes some supposed evidence or reasoning behind her grandiose claims in one of them. I haven't seen any in the few I clicked on, just more grandiose claims and arguments with other people. – Dan Getz Jan 19 '16 at 18:31
  • 4
    @DJClayworth If only it were just the one person rather than a whole network of "Sovereign Citizen" loonies... – Shadur Jan 21 '16 at 9:56
17

There are a number of claims in the question. First I'm going to address this one:

Capitalized names refer to corporate entities associated with individuals; e.g., John Doe refers to the person and JOHN DOE to the corporate entity created for John Doe. This treatment makes it appear that the government has more control than they would over a natural person.

This question is answered in Daniel B. Evans's Tax Protestor FAQ:

Desperate to come up with some reason why they should not be required to defend the lawsuit against them, some nuts argue that the name in the caption in not their name because it is written in all capital letters.

The claim is sometimes that a name that is all capital letters is not the name of the human taxpayer but the name of an artificial entity, sometimes referred to as a “straw man,” which has the same name but which is a separate artificial “juristic person” created by the taxpayer’s birth certificate or other government action.

Some courts have actually addressed this nonsense:

“Defendant Glenn Stinson argues that the case should be dismissed or “quashed” on the grounds that: ... 4) GLENN STINSON and NAOMI STINSON, as spelled in all capital letters in the caption of this case, are “tombstone names,” and therefore, are “nonliving persons” who have never conducted any business in Oklahoma; ....

“Defendant Glenn Stinson purports to be confused as to whether the Government’s complaint in this proceeding is directed at “Glenn Stinson and Naomi Stinson” or against “GLENN STINSON and NAOMI STINSON.” The difference between the fully capitalized and the first-letter capitalized versions of the Defendants’ names is immaterial, and provides no defense to the claims asserted by the Government.”

United States v. Glen H. Stinson et al., 2005 TNT 160-2, No. CIV-03-50-R (U.S.D.C. W.D.Okla. 7/22/2005) (tax assessments reduced to judgment and fraudulent conveyances set aside).

“Plaintiff also contends that the person designated as “MOGI JASON ROFICK” in all capital letters on the IRS notices is a fictitious entity created by the IRS with the purpose of taking title to his property as his name is “Mogi Jason Rofick,” designated by both capital and lower case letters. The Court finds this argument to be frivolous.”

Mogi J. Rofick v. Commissioner, 87 AFTR2d ¶2001-1003, 2001 TNT 112-95, No. 00-CV-74333-DT (U.S.D.C. E.D.Mich. 5/9/2001) (complaint to abate taxes dismissed).

“In his various motions to strike, plaintiff seeks to have the court strike a number of the United States’ filings from the record of this case, on the basis that these filings are ‘directed to a person not a party to this instant case.’ More specifically, plaintiff complains that the United States’ filings have been directed to a person named CRIS TIMOTHY HILLMAN, whose name is spelled in bold, capital letters, in contrast with plaintiff’s name, which is spelled in upper and lower case letters, which are, according to him ‘proper English.’ [Footnote omitted] Plaintiff contends that the person CRIS TIMOTHY HILLMAN ‘is either a dead person or a corporate fiction’ who is not a party to this case.

“To the extent that the mere usage of a boldface font or all capital letters may be considered a misspelling of plaintiff’s name -- a proposition which the court seriously doubts -- it is an error which is purely technical in nature. In some instances, the law will not countenance technical errors. However, the misspelling of a party’s name on a pleading or filing in an action in a United States District Court is not one of those instances. Such an error in this situation must be considered one of form not substance, and assuming that a party receives the document containing the misspelling and realizes it is directed to him, no reason exists not to hold that party to have notice of the document’s contents. Here, plaintiff must have received the documents containing the alleged misspellings, for he has moved to strike them. Because they were sent to his address, contained the case caption, and were identified by the correct case number, the court finds that he must have realized they were directed to him -- how could he not recognize this? In summary, because the manner in which plaintiff’s name is spelled, printed, or punctuated on filings in this case does not, in the court’s view, impact on the substance of the pleadings, the court denies plaintiff’s motions to strike as meritless.”

Cris Timothy, Hillman v. Secretary of Treasury, 85 AFTR2d ¶2000-707, 2000 TNT 111-13, No. 1:99cv136 (U.S.D.C. W.D. Mich. 3/28/2000).

“Wright brings what he has labeled a ‘motion to dismiss for plaintiff’s lack of standing and misjoinder of parties.’ First, he contends that since the amended complaint states that this action is brought against ‘FLOYD A. WRIGHT’ and his name is ‘Floyd A. Wright’, he is not the proper defendant. ... These arguments are patently frivolous and the motion is thus summarily DENIED.”

United States v. Wright, 83 A.F.T.R.2d 99-533, KTC 1998-630, No. S-94-1183 (U.S.D.C. E.D.Cal. 1998), (action by United States to reduce assessed taxes to a judgment against the defendant).

See also, United States v. Furman, 168 F. Supp. 2d 609 (E.D. La. 2001) (rejecting criminal defendant’s contention that he was not properly identified in federal government documents that misspelled his name or used his properly spelled name in all capital letters); United States v. Lindsay, 184 F.3d 1138, 1144 (10th Cir.), cert. denied, 528 U.S. 981 (1999),(affirming a district court decision not to reduce a tax protester’s prison sentence because, among other things, the tax protester claimed not to be the person named in the court documents); Wilcox v. Commissioner, 848 F.2d 1007, 1008 (9th Cir. 1988) (calling “baseless” defendant’s contention that the indictment must be dismissed because his name, spelled in capital letters, “is a fictitious name used by the government to tax him improperly as a business”); United States v. Washington, 947 F.Supp. 87, 92 (S.D.N.Y. 1996); United States v. Feinstein, 717 F.Supp. 1552, 1557 (S.D.Fla. 1989).

In Rev. Rul. 2005-21, 2005-14 I.R.B. 822, the IRS rejected the claim that there might be a “straw man” separate from the individual taxpayer, and confirmed that arguments concerning the formatting of a taxpayer’s in capital letters are “frivolous” and can result in civil and criminal penalties.

The claim that “[a] taxpayer is not obligated to pay income tax because the government has created an entity separate and distinct from the taxpayer—a ‘straw man’—that is distinguishable from the taxpayer by some variation of the taxpayer’s name, and any tax obligations are exclusively those of the ‘straw man,’ or similar arguments described as frivolous in Rev. Rul. 2005-21, 2005-14 I.R.B. 822“ has been identified by the IRS as a “frivolous position” that can result in a penalty of $5,000 when asserted in a tax return or included in certain collection-related submissions. Notice 2007-30, 2007-14 I.R.B. 883.

Tax Protestor FAQ: "A name that is written all in capital letters (as in a court caption) is not the same as a name written in mixed case (upper and lower case)."

The (entirely false) idea that the government creates a corporation corresponding to each living person, and that a particular typography of the person's name refers to the corporation rather than the living person (and therefore the living person, conveniently, doesn't have to pay any income tax) is known as the "straw man" argument, and the IRS has addressed it specifically:

Frivolous tax returns; use of “straw man” to avoid tax. This ruling emphasizes to taxpayers and to promoters and return preparers that a taxpayer cannot avoid income tax on the erroneous theory that the government has created a separate and distinct entity or “straw man,” in place of the taxpayer and that the taxpayer is not responsible for the tax obligations of the “straw man”. This argument has no merit and is frivolous.

...

The “straw man” claim is premised on the erroneous theory that most government documents do not actually refer to individuals. Users of the “straw man” theory falsely claim that only documents using an individual’s name with “standard” capitalization, i.e., lower-case with only the beginning letters of each name capitalized, are legitimate. These individuals erroneously argue that the use of the individual’s name in all upper-case letters, which is common in some government documents, refers to a separate legal entity, called a “straw man.” These individuals also erroneously argue that, as a result of the creation of a “straw man,” they are not liable for the debts, including the tax debts, of their “straw man,” that taxing the “straw man” is illegal because the “straw man” is a debt instrument based upon the labor of a real person and is, therefore, a form of slavery, or that no tax is owed by the real individual because it can be satisfied, or offset, by money in a “Treasury Direct Account” held in the name of the “straw man.”

All individuals are subject to the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. Section 1 imposes a tax on all taxable income. Section 61 provides that gross income includes all income from whatever source derived, including compensation for services. Adjustments to income, deductions, and credits must be claimed in accordance with the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, the accompanying Treasury regulations, and other applicable federal law. Section 6011 provides that any person liable for any tax imposed by the Internal Revenue Code shall make a return when required by Treasury regulations, and that returns must be filed in accordance with Treasury regulations and IRS forms. Section 6012 identifies the persons who are required to file income tax returns. Section 6151 requires that taxpayers pay their tax when the return is due. Section 6311 requires payment of taxes by commercially acceptable means as prescribed by Treasury regulations.

There is no authority under the Internal Revenue Code or any other applicable law that supports the claim that taxpayers may avoid their federal tax obligations based on “straw man” arguments, as described in this revenue ruling, or on similar arguments. The formatting of a taxpayer’s name in all upper-case letters on government documents or elsewhere has no significance whatsoever for federal tax purposes. Courts have rejected as frivolous “straw man” arguments. United States v. Furman, 168 F.Supp.2d 609 (E.D. La. 2001) (rejecting criminal defendant’s contention that he was not properly identified in federal government documents that misspelled his name or used his properly spelled name in all capital letters). In addition, courts repeatedly have rejected similar arguments based on frivolous claims that purport to provide a basis for avoiding taxes, and have penalized taxpayers who have made these arguments. See, e.g., Lovell v. United States, 755 F.2d 517, 519 (7th Cir. 1984) (“[A]ll individuals, natural or unnatural, must pay federal income tax on their wages . . ..”); United States v. Romero, 640 F.2d 1014, 1017 (9th Cir. 1981) (“[I]n our system of government, one is free to speak out in open opposition to the provisions of the tax laws, but such opposition does not relieve a citizen of his obligation to pay taxes.”).

Internal Revenue Bulletin: 2005-14
April 4, 2005
Rev. Rul. 2005-21

It is worth noting that there is a $5000 penalty for wasting the IRS's time by attempting to avoid paying tax using this frivolous argument - rising to $25,000 for wasting the time of the tax court by relying on this argument:

Potentially applicable civil penalties include: (1) the section 6651 additions to tax for failure to file a return, failure to pay the tax owed, and fraudulent failure to file a return; (2) the section 6662 accuracy-related penalty, which is equal to 20 percent of the amount of taxes the taxpayer should have paid; (3) the section 6663 penalty for civil fraud, which is equal to 75 percent of the amount of taxes the taxpayer should have paid; (4) a $500 penalty under section 6702 for filing a frivolous return; and (5) a penalty of up to $25,000 under section 6673 if the taxpayer makes frivolous arguments in the United States Tax Court.

There's also the usual penalties for trying to avoid tax:

Taxpayers relying on these theories also may face criminal prosecution for: (1) attempting to evade or defeat tax under section 7201, for which there is a significant fine and imprisonment for up to 5 years; (2) willful failure to file a return under section 7203, for which there is a significant fine and imprisonment for up to one year; or (3) making false statements on a return, statement, or other document under section 7206, for which there is a significant fine and imprisonment for up to 3 years.

And a special penalty for those who complete other people's tax returns (on their behalf) based on this frivolous argument:

Persons, including return preparers, who promote these theories and those who assist taxpayers in claiming tax benefits based on these frivolous arguments may face penalties and also may be enjoined by courts pursuant to sections 7407 and 7408. Potential penalties include: (1) a $250 penalty under section 6694 for each return or claim for refund prepared by an income tax return preparer who knew or should have known that the taxpayer’s argument was frivolous (or $1,000 for each return or claim for refund if the return preparer’s actions were willful, intentional or reckless); (2) a penalty under section 6700 for promoting abusive tax shelters; (3) a $1,000 penalty under section 6701 for aiding and abetting the understatement of tax; and (4) criminal prosecution under section 7206, for which there is a significant fine and imprisonment for up to 3 years for assisting or advising about the preparation of a false return, statement or other document under the internal revenue laws.

The IRS summarises the situation:

The use of different forms of a taxpayer’s name (different spellings, capitalization, etc.) does not create a “straw man” that allows taxpayers to avoid their federal tax obligations. Claims based on “straw man” arguments or on similar arguments, to avoid federal tax obligations, are frivolous and have no merit.

(source ibid.)

It's also worth noting that there are no "corporate entities associated with individuals". The government does not create a corporation each time a baby is born. It's easy to check this by taking a look at the register of corporations in your state, or a company which amalgamates these records such as Hoovers. Here in the UK the resource would be Companies House. Simply search for a company with the same name as you - you're very unlikely to find one.


Now I'm going to address this claim:

Americans' civil records have been falsified - nearly all citizens have been declared "foundlings" (no legal parents on record) in order to declare us wards of the Washington DC municipal corporation and change our natural venue to international/maritime courts;

  • Check your birth certificate. If it says that you have parents then you have "legal parents on record".

  • Being an orphan does not place you outside the normal jurisdiction of national courts. This is pretty obvious - think of any court case involving a person whose parents are dead. Does someone without living parents come under the same legal jurisdiction as everybody else? Yes, of course they do.

  • There is no such thing as "the Washington DC municipal corporation"; Washington DC is a federal district, not a private corporation:

Is Washington, DC a city or a state?

Washington, DC is not a city or state, nor is it part of any other state. It is a unique "federal district," created specifically to be the seat of government.

...

So how is a "district" different from a state?

Just like people who live in states, DC residents pay federal and local taxes, but they do not have a voting representative in Congress. DC residents do have representation, but the representative cannot vote and can only sit on committees. When there’s a presidential election, the Electoral College gives Washington, DC the same number of votes as the smallest state, even if it has a larger population. Unlike the states, when DC receives federal funding, it also gets special orders on how to spend the money. The President of the United States appoints Washington, DC’s local judges. In states, judges are appointed by state officials. Before 1974, Congress appointed the people who would govern Washington, DC. Now there is an elected mayor and 13-member city council. Even though the mayor and city council govern the city, Congress still reviews and sometimes changes DC’s laws and budget. No states have their laws and budget reviewed by Congress.

Washington, DC: Quick Facts for Kids


Moving on now to the remaining claim:

At a meeting of the UN Trust Committee - North America, it was claimed that the States of America no longer exist and are "civilly dead" and "depopulated" and that there are no American citizens

  • UN population data is available on the UN website, File POP/1-1 (an Excel spreadsheet). It shows the 2015 UN estimate of the US population at 321,774,000 people (cell BS262 of the spreadsheet). 321,774,000 is not zero.

  • There is no UN committee named "UN Trust Committee - North America" or anything similar. The committees of the General Assembly are:

First Committee (Disarmament and International Security Committee) is concerned with disarmament and related international security questions;
Second Committee (Economic and Financial Committee) is concerned with economic questions;
Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee) deals with social and humanitarian issues;
Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization Committee) deals with a variety of political subjects not dealt with by the First Committee, as well as with decolonization;
Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary Committee) deals with the administration and budget of the United Nations; and
Sixth Committee (Legal Committee) deals with international legal matters.
...
The Credentials Committee is mandated to examine the credentials of representatives of Member States and to report to the General Assembly.
The General Committee meets periodically throughout each session to review the progress of the General Assembly and its committees and to make recommendations for furthering such progress.

UN General Assembly: Main Committees / Other Committees

The subsidiary committees of the General Assembly are:

Investments Committee [established by GA resolution 155 (II)]
United Nations Staff Pension Committee [established by GA resolution 248 (III)]
Committee for the United Nations Population Award [established by GA resolution 36/201]
Committee on Contributions [established by GA resolution 14 (I) A]
Committee for Programme and Coordination [established by GA resolution 31/93 and ECOSOC Resolution 2008 (LX)]
Committee on Conferences [established by GA resolution 43/222B]
Committee on Information [established by GA resolution 33/115 C]
Committee on Relations with the Host Country [established by GA resolution 2819 (XXVI)]
Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People [established by GA resolution 3376 (XXX)]
Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) [established by GA resolution 1472 A (XIV)]
United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) [established by GA resolution 913 (X)]
Ad hoc Committees

Ad Hoc Committee on the Administration of Justice at the United Nations [established by GA decision 62/519]
Ad Hoc Committee on Criminal Accountability of United Nations Officials and Experts on Mission [established by GA resolution 61/29]
Ad Hoc Committee established by General Assembly resolution 51/210 [established by GA resolution 51/210]
Ad Hoc Committee of the General Assembly for the Announcement of Voluntary Contributions to the Programme of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees [established by GA resolution 1729 (XVI)]
Ad Hoc Committee of the General Assembly for the Announcement of Voluntary Contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East [established by GA resolution 1729 (XVI)]
Ad Hoc Committee on a Comprehensive and Integral International Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities [established by GA resolution 56/168] 
Note: The Ad Hoc Committee was last active during its seventh session (16 January-3 February 2006).
Ad Hoc Committee on the elaboration of a Convention against corruption [established by GA resolution 55/61]
Note: The Ad Hoc Committee was last active during its 13th session (26 January-6 February 2004).
Ad Hoc Committee on the Indian Ocean [established by GA resolution 2992 (XXVII)]
Ad Hoc Committee on the Scope of Legal Protection under the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel [established by GA resolution 56/89] 
Note: The Ad Hoc Committee was last active during the 60th session of the General Assembly (4-10 October 2005).
Advisory Committees

Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions [established by GA resolution 173 (II)]
Advisory Committee on the United Nations Programme of Assistance in the Teaching, Study, Dissemination and Wider Appreciation of International Law [established by GA resolution 2099 (XX)]
Independent Audit Advisory Committee [established by GA resolution 60/248]
Executive Committee

Executive Committee of High Commissioner's Programme (UNHCR) [established by GA resolution 1166 (XII)]
High-level Committee

High-level Committee on South-South Cooperation [established by GA resolution 33/134]
Special Committees

Special Committee on Peace-keeping Operations [established by GA resolution 2006 (XIX)]
Special Committee on the Charter of the United Nations and on the Strengthening of the Role of the Organization [established by GA resolution 3349 (XXIX)]
Special Committee on the Situation with regard to the Implementation of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples [established by GA resolution 1654 (XVI)]
Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories [established by GA resolution 2443 (XXIII)]

Subsidiary organs of the General Assembly: Committees

There is no "UN Trust Committee" and no UN North America Committee.


In summary:

Is the federal US government playing games with people's citizenship and human rights as indicated above?

No.

Are citizens "wards of the state" in any way and would this have any legal bearing on the court system's jurisdiction?

No. A small number of citizens (usually children whose parents are dead or unable to care for them) are wards of court / wards of state; this does not place them outside the regular legal system.

Are claims being made that the US is civilly dead and that there are no US citizens?

No such claims are made by the UN (because that would be ridiculous).

Are corporations created for individuals referenced by capitalized names in a move to deny rights?

No. Corporations aren't created corresponding to each individual person, and it doesn't make any difference legally how a person's name is capitalised.

  • 13
    In other words, this is a stupid argument and the IRS and the courts are so sick of hearing it that even bringing it up is a good way to get slapped with thousands of dollars' worth of "wasting our time with nonsense" fines. – Shadur Jan 21 '16 at 15:30
  • +1 Great answer! To play devil's advocate, though - they don't appear to plainly say that the capitalized version of the name in fact does not refer to a corporate entity created by the government corresponding to the person - but that it is immaterial, frivolous and without merit to argue such for the purposes of avoiding income tax laws. Isn't there still some doubt about whether such a scheme exists and, if so, what other abuses it might legitimize? – Patrick87 Jan 21 '16 at 17:15
  • 2
    @Patrick87 if such a scheme did exist, I can't imagine it how it would be immaterial or frivolous to reference it. It's hard to prove a negative, but I see no support for the idea in any of the above information from courts or the IRS. On the contrary, I see rejected multiple times the idea that capitalization changes the referent of a name, which seems to be an important foundation of this "theory". – Dan Getz Jan 21 '16 at 17:36
  • 3
    @DanGetz has it -- to quote Carl Sagan, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, and the Sovereign Citizens offer none whatsoever. – Shadur Jan 21 '16 at 23:33
  • 4
    @Patrick87: Ad absurdum, that would lead to infinite whack-a-mole game of "you're only permitted to address me as 𝒫𝒾𝓈𝓀𝓋ℴ𝓇, with a non-bold red Comic Sans typeface, in parentheses, underlined and capitalized, hand-written in transparent green ink. Oh wait, and the I needs to be dotless. With an umlaut. Abracadabra - this magic makes me immune from your magic." – Piskvor Jan 25 '16 at 15:08

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .