Don’t like how the criminal justice system works? Think it’s replete with corruption and lies? It just doesn’t do what you think it should do? No problem. Just create one of your own!!!
In Bozeman, Montana, a group of locals decided to hold a meeting at the public library to decide what to do. Via the Bozeman Daily Chronicle:
A meeting is scheduled at the Bozeman Public Library at 1:30 p.m. Saturday with a presentation and vote to decide if a common law grand jury should be in Gallatin County, said Averil Heath, who is coordinating the effort. A similar meeting is planned at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Livingston Public Library for a common law grand jury in Park County.
“I believe that justice is not being served, and there is a great deal of corruption taking place and no one is being held accountable,” [Averil] Heath said. “We were supposed to hold the people accountable and this is the mechanism we were given to hold all branches of the government accountable.”
What are the chances the American flag in the room will have fringes? Ironically, Montana doesn’t use a grand jury system, which came as a relief to a great many ham sandwiches, but that hasn’t stopped disaffected folks from deciding to form their own.
“There is a move to do this in all the counties … in the United States, to return us to common law, which is where we were supposed to be all along,” Heath said.
The mantra of the sovereign citizen, which (lest there be any confusion whatsoever) is borne of a toxic mix of ignorance and insanity, is all about some fictional belief in the “common law.” This is not because people who are unhappy with how government has developed and run things are necessarily wrong, but that the alternative isn’t to grasp hold of claims that this fictional “common law” is the true way.
We actually have a method for citizens to shed themselves of elected officials who fail to conduct the public’s business in an acceptable way: vote them out of office. It’s hard to do? Well, sure it is, because a majority of people aren’t willing to vote the way you want them to. Whether this is a bug or feature is based on where you’re standing. If others felt as disaffected, they would join you. That they don’t agree doesn’t mean they’re stupid and foolish (although they may be), but that you lose. Suck it up.
But there’s something insidious about some group of whackos in Bozeman deciding to convene their own private legal system.
But Gallatin County Attorney Marty Lambert raised a number of questions about the proposed process.
According to Montana law, a district judge is the only person who can summon or draw a grand jury, Lambert said.
“I can’t recall the last time a grand jury was convened in Montana,” he said. “That’s not how criminal cases are filed in the state of Montana.”
Lambert said he would like to know who gets to convene a grand jury. If a group of people said it wanted a person prosecuted, Lambert said he, as the county attorney, could decide against prosecution.
“Who is going to prosecute the cases?” he asked.
It appears that Marty hasn’t thought this through very hard. If these unhappy folks decide to create their own grand juries, what’s to stop them from running their own trials with their own prosecutors and their own vision of process? Once you break through the wall of sanity, there is no end in sight.
And in Bozeman, Montana, there is a slight chance that the same folks who favor convening their own common law grand juries might have weapons as well. If Marty won’t do the job, then they can do it themselves. They can arrest whoever they indict. They can do so at gun point and lock them in some sovereign basement. And after they convict them, they can impose whatever common law punishment they feel is appropriate. Perhaps the Bible can offer some guidance as to the appropriate measure of punishment?
Heath said a common law grand jury is legitimate.
She explained the decision to empanel such a jury would be up to those who attend Saturday’s meeting at the library. If the majority of those who attend vote in favor of the common law grand jury, then it’s a go, she said.
And if Heath happens to be the only person in the room, then she comprises a majority of one. Good enough to start.
There are many who agree with Heath that the system has been corrupted beyond repair and who believe that it’s time to “reboot,” as if pressing a button will return us to the Halcyon days of the republic. Some of those who think this way, like Heath, are certain that some natural law gives them a natural right to invent wild theories of sovereignty and thus remove them from the “control” of an illegitimate government, if not the social contract.
As much as you might hate the current management of the legal system, would you be happier with Averil Heath running the show? If so, you can pick up your tin foil hat on the way out. The alternative to bad isn’t necessarily better. Sometimes it’s just plain nuts.
Update: Per KBZK, the idea “passed” with overwhelming support of the 40 people at the library, with only three voting against the idea.
On Saturday, inside the Bozeman Public Library library roughly 40 people discussed the legality of common law grand juries.
“I’m going to release people from jail that are not criminals that are being there unjustly,” Common Law Grand Jury Administrator Joaquin Denoreta-Folch said.
Organizers say the people are the fourth branch of government and believe citizens should be the ones to file criminal cases.
And the plan is to “take back the courts”:
“When we go to the judge like we’re doing in New York, we are going to grab him by the ear and say ‘you listen here, we the people are the kings. We the people, each and every one of you is the ruler and king of your life. Therefore they said that the rule of law is what our founding fathers says you no longer call the grand jury you hear me.’”
What the reference to New York is supposed to mean isn’t clear, but these are quotes so there is necessary connection between what’ said and reality. And if the quotes don’t do it for you, read the comments to the story from the locals.