BIRTH OF A ‘SOVEREIGN’ VERB: Appeals Court Upholds Convictions In ‘False-Liens’ Case In Which Defendant Called Law ‘A[**] Wipe’ And Declared He’d ‘Lien . . . Down’ Even On Court-Appointed Defense Counsel; Co-Defendant Was Figure In SEC’s Gold Quest International Ponzi Case And Sought To File Bizarre Lawsuit Against Agency

“I don’t want to see a lawyer. If you do, I’m going to lien him down fast.”Gregory Allen Davis addressing U.S. Magistrate Judge Alice R. Senechal of North Dakota in a false-liens case that evolved from events in 2010 and earlier

UPDATED 5:14 P.M. ET (U.S.A.)

The word “lien” is a noun. But it seems quickly to have become a verb in the mind of Gregory Allen Davis, a reputed “sovereign citizen” accused in 2010 of filing false liens against U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland of North Dakota and Lynn Jordheim, a federal prosecutor who once served as the acting U.S. Attorney for the state.

Appearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alice R. Senechal to be arraigned on charges of filing false liens in the form of UCC Financing Statements against Hovland and Jordheim, Davis informed Senechal that he’d reject the appointment of defense counsel by the court, according to transcripts cited by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. (PP Blog emphasis):

“I don’t want to see a lawyer,” Davis barked to the judge. “If you do, I’m going to lien him down fast.

A Tortured History

With the belligerent morphing of “lien” from noun to verb even as Davis claimed the judge had no jurisdiction over him and demanded she present her “oath of office,” thus began a new chapter in the already-bizarre sagas of Davis and fellow purported “sovereign citizen” Michael Howard Reed.

Reed emerged as a figure in the May 2008 SEC Ponzi-scheme case against Gold-Quest International (GQI) after asserting he was the “attorney general” for an “Indian” tribe in North Dakota and trying to sue the agency for the staggering sum of $1.7 trillion.

GQI operated from Las Vegas and touted a footprint in Panama. Reed’s apparent theory was that the enterprise, which was accused of hatching a Ponzi that had gathered nearly $30 million, was untouchable under U.S. law and that it enjoyed sovereignty that somehow was portable across multiple state lines in the United States. A federal judge in Nevada quickly put an end to that nonsensical argument — even as regulators in Canada also were preparing or pressing claims against GQI, which purportedly was operated by a “Lord.”

Reed’s unsuccessful bid to intervene in the GQI case was hardly his only encounter with the federal judiciary and law-enforcement agencies.

In rejecting various claims by Davis and Reed in the false-liens case and upholding the rulings of U.S. District Judge Charles B. Kornmann of South Dakota — who was sitting in special designation because the North Dakota federal judiciary had recused itself — the Eighth Circuit appeals panel started out by reciting some of the tortured litigation history surrounding the false-liens case. (Italics added):

“Gregory Allen Davis and Michael Howard Reed irrationally believe that their membership in the Little Shell Nation, an unrecognized Indian tribe, means they are not United States citizens subject to the jurisdiction of the federal courts. This belief led them into serious trouble. First, Reed threatened North Dakota District Judge Ralph Erickson because he refused to dismiss federal drug charges against two other Little Shell members. Months later, when District Judge Daniel Hovland denied a motion to dismiss a firearm charge pending against Reed, Davis filed a Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) financing statement listing Judge Hovland and acting United States Attorney Lynn Jordheim as $3.4 million debtors and Davis as the secured party. After a three-day trial, a jury convicted Davis and Reed of conspiring to file and filing false liens against Judge Hovland and Jordheim in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1521. The jury also convicted Reed of corruptly obstructing justice in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1503(a), based on his earlier threats. On appeal, Davis argues that the evidence was insufficient to prove a violation of § 1521. Both Davis and Reed argue, for somewhat different reasons, that the district court violated their constitutional rights by allowing them to represent themselves at trial. We affirm.”

Notwithstanding the fact Davis initially had claimed he’d “lien . . . down” even appointed defense counsel and personally defend the charge that he’d filed false liens against public officials, Davis subsequently permitted a lawyer appointed by the court as “standby counsel” to carry out duties such as arguing evidentiary issues, according to court records. Both Davis and Reed reserved their rights to argue the case-in-chief.

“[T]hey provided opening statements, cross-examined the government’s witnesses, testified in their own defense, and offered a mountain of irrelevant documents relating to their claims of personal sovereignty,” according to Eighth Circuit.

But after both men were convicted of filing false liens and conspiring to file them, they then claimed they should not have been permitted to act as their own counsel, a claim in stark contrast to the earlier insistence by Davis that he be permitted to exercise his Constitutional right to represent himself and that he’d file a lien against a defense attorney if one were appointed for him.

Among other things, the Eighth Circuit upheld Kornmann’s conclusion that Davis “knowingly and voluntarily waived his right to counsel.” It made the same determination in rejecting Reed’s argument that the judge should not have permitted him to argue his own case.

Reed claimed, among other things, that “he should not have been allowed to defend himself foolishly,” according to the Eighth Circuit.

The Story Within The Story

Also of note is that the federal law under which Davis and Reed were charged and convicted in North Dakota is the same law under which AdSurfDaily figure and purported “sovereign citizen” Kenneth Wayne Leaming was charged in November 2011 by an FBI terrorism task force in Washington state: Retaliating against a Federal judge or Federal law enforcement officer by false claim or slander of title.

Leaming, 56, also has a “Little Shell” link, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

In court filings, the FBI said Leaming filed bogus liens against a federal judge, three federal prosecutors and a special agent of the U.S. Secret Service — among other officials. In addition, he is charged with being a felon in possession of firearms, harboring two fugitives and uttering a bogus “Bonded Promissory Note” for $1 million. He is jailed near Seattle.

But to Davis, the law against filing false liens against public officials is “ass wipe,” according to a citation in the Eighth Circuit decision upholding his conviction.

“At trial, an FBI agent testified that, during a January 20 interview, Davis admitted to filing this lien, threatened to file more liens, and referred to the statute prohibiting false liens as “ass wipe,” the appeals panel recounted.

Leaming, according to court filings in the false-liens cases against him, filed the liens in Washington state.

Davis, though, chose to file liens in the District of Columbia — and he did so electronically, according to the Eighth Circuit.

“Reed and Davis conducted a recorded telephone conversation on January 5, 2010, the day Judge Hovland issued an order denying Reed’s motion to dismiss the pending firearms charge,” the appeals panel recounted. “The two discussed placing UCC liens for $2.4 million in cash and $1 million in silver against federal entities. The next day, Davis electronically filed a Form UCC-1 financing statement with the Recorder of Deeds in Washington, D.C., listing as debtors, ‘1. U.S. District Court of North Dakota/Daniel Hovland,’ and ‘2. Acting United States Attorney, Lynn C. Jordheim.”

The histories of both the Davis/Reed case and the emerging Leaming case lead to troubling questions about whether the Internet and the current state of U.S. and state procedures with respect to how liens are accepted and recorded in the public record have opened the doors for “sovereign citizens” to wage far-reaching revenge campaigns against public officials.

This comes at potential expense to both taxpayers and the targeted public officials who at least briefly have to take time away from their public duties and put on the hat of a witness/crime victim.

The Eighth Circuit ruling, for instance, points out that lien targets and federal officials “Hovland and Jordheim testified that they are not indebted to Davis” despite his assertion they owed him millions of dollars.

“Davis chose a filing office whose public records would likely be searched by a party looking for adverse claims against the properties of Judge Hovland and Jordheim, such as prospective lenders, credit card issuers, and credit rating agencies,” the appeals panel found. “He also filed the facially suspect statement electronically and it became a public record without review.”

And, as the appeals panel highlighted in a potentially ominous footnote, different results are possible in different jurisdictions. (PP Blog emphasis added):

Some States have amended UCC Article 9 to give filing officers discretion to refuse apparently fraudulent or unauthorized filings and to streamline procedures for the removal of fraudulent filings. See White & Summers, Uniform Commercial Code § 31-16 (6th ed. 2010). Absent such an amendment, the UCC grants little authority to refuse to accept fraudulent filings. See § 9-520(a) & cmt. 2.”

See “The Lawless Ones” report by the Anti-Defamation League.

Read the Feb. 9, 2012, ruling against Davis and Reed by a three-judge panel in the Eighth Circuit.

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3 Responses to “BIRTH OF A ‘SOVEREIGN’ VERB: Appeals Court Upholds Convictions In ‘False-Liens’ Case In Which Defendant Called Law ‘A[**] Wipe’ And Declared He’d ‘Lien . . . Down’ Even On Court-Appointed Defense Counsel; Co-Defendant Was Figure In SEC’s Gold Quest International Ponzi Case And Sought To File Bizarre Lawsuit Against Agency”

  1. Once again we see the connection. Indian tribe “Little Shell), sovereign citizens rejecting US citizenship, false liens and fraudulent schemes (in this case a ponzi scheme).

    The law means nothing to these folks.

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  2. Idiots, pure and simple. They need to be deported to some banana republic.

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  3. One of the Ponzi’s that started in Sep 09 and ran with the money in April of 2010 wsa a program called PTVPartner. What was interesting about their Ponzi was this claim they made in their Q&A Section of their website, and I quote:

    “Q: Are you a registered trader or investment company?
    A: As PTVPartner.com No. We are a group of Sovereign Individuals Internationalists or PT’s, following the PT lifestyle in both are personal and business lives.”

    Now they also made a lot of other outlandish claims, but this one stood out to me at the time. Makes you wonder just “who” really was behind this Ponzi now doesn’t it, and the comments take on a whole new meaning in light of current events than when stated back in 09.

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