All Rise! No Thanks, I’ll Keep My Seat by Chris

“If… the machine of government… is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law.”

– Henry David Thoreau

One Friday summer evening about 5 years ago I arrived home from work to find an arrest warrant in my mailbox. Puzzled as to what this could be, I got pretty worried. I was dirty, and tired from work. I remember it being around dusk, or later which would have put me at work for about 14 hours that day. My wife and I talked about it, and decided since it was Friday, we would wait until Monday morning to figure this out. No sense in sitting in the pokey all weekend. Besides, if it was that important, they know where I live.

Monday morning I called my job to tell them I would be late, that there is some kind of misunderstanding down at the sheriff’s office I needed to straighten out. I arrived at the sheriff’s office, warrant in hand. I handed it to the deputy, he checked it out and told me I was in violation of a new county “code” I had an unregistered truck in my driveway that was not covered by a vehicle cover. Speechless, I just stood there as he continued to tell me that since it was such a new “code” it has not received classification on exactly what kind of crime it should be. He informed me it was an automatic class 4 misdemeanor. He said that it wasn’t that bad. Yeah, that made me feel better. I was just stunned; the state was trying to turn me into a criminal!
He then told me if it was covered by the court date the charges will be dropped. I had a feeling he had said this schtick before. I asked him what would happen if I didn’t show up. He told me there would be a warrant for my arrest. Wow! I had to pinch myself!

This all started because my buddies truck blew an engine, and I was trying to source him  one to install in my driveway. This particular make and model makes it hard to find a motor. So it sat for a couple of months. The tags died on it and some bureaucrat just happen to be spying on the good people of my neighborhood and happened to see the dead tags. Me being me, I did not want to comply with this madness! But, my wife told me to just do it, so we can get this out of the way. So I covered the truck the day before court, cussing the entire time. And yes I took pictures.

On the way to the historic Spotsylvania Courthouse, which sits on hallowed ground, I could not help but think justice will be done this day. After all this fine Virginian guardian of justice will surely put an end to this tyranny, right? My “case” was called, and there I met my accuser. Some lady who I had never met was now accusing me of breaking the “law”. Chest out, and feeling good, I proudly handed the judge the pictures, and the receipt for the vehicle cover. He then looked at the date on the receipt and asked me if I had bought it last night, I responded yes. He looked at the code enforcing bureaucrat, and asked her if she had physically seen the cover on the truck. She responded no. He then informed me I was guilty for “not complying fast enough” grasping to find words, I spoke up “you honor; I do not have a record”. He scowled at me “I don’t care”. I swung around to look at my wife, and she was just as shocked as me! I tried once more, “your honor, I was informed by the officer if I complied by the court date, it would be dropped”. He responded “we have no witnesses”.

I have since forgotten what the fine was. I think it was about $200 total including court costs. I sit here years later thinking about this, and how I was essentially pleading with another man not to take my property. I have a misdemeanor on my record because some faceless county tyrants jotted something down on some paper. They made a “code” to tell me what to do with my property, on my property. If I did not comply with this “code” they somehow had some right to my property.

I sit here now, and think about how I called this man honorable. Then I think about how I had to rise for this man.  This man who I thought was a fair arbitrator of justice, had extorted me. I made a vow to myself right then and there. I will never rise for another man in a robe ever again! This man that sits above you in the court room, like he is your god. Why do we have to rise for these lawyers in dresses? Are they better than us? Do they not breathe the same air as us? Better yet, ask yourselves this question. Is this the justice system of free men? Free humans and those who claim a higher power. Your allegiance is to yourself and your creator. Not to the state! Participate in a little civil disobedience, rise for the judge no longer. Stop worshiping your false god, the state.

“Freedom is the emancipation from the arbitrary rule of other men.”

~ Mortimer Adler


10 thoughts on “All Rise! No Thanks, I’ll Keep My Seat by Chris”

  1. Interesting post, Chris. Living in NY, I am totally familiar with all the “codes” that get written to raise revenue for the state. Essentially, they are best way to make money outside of taxes. Like you pointed to in your previous post, the judge is basically deciding whether or not you are guilty based upon whether or not he gets paid. Innocence doesn’t raise money, and that is not a good system, to be sure.

  2. Pat, no funds were ever recovered. I forgot to add the cost of the $44 vehicle cover in the story. The money was not the important part. The fact that other men can tell me what to do on my own property, and then make me a criminal when I dont comply is disgusting!

  3. Exmaples like yours, about the dispensing of “arbitrary” justice are rife, even in Britain. Quasi legal people in uniform, or with a tenuous link to local authority can fine someone for dropping a cigarette or leaving a garbage sack in the wrong place. It happens everyday. I once parked in a perfectly ok looking parking space and got a fine. I was told it was a disabled bay. I had two other witnesses who would have testified that there were no signs and no indications. I went back a week later to the same spot and they had painted in a big disabled notice on the ground. What can you do?

    But have you ever wondered how we got to this?

    Its not really a new concept as you know. What is it that turns average people into monsters who have no empathy or insight into the fallibility or even, vulnerability of people who innocently break a law and who, with no congniscence of their own de-humanisation, go on to de-humanise others?

    You may remember Stanley Milgram’s experiment, in which apparently rational people are conditioned to administer putative fatal electric shocks to others. It took very little conditioning indeed to take an ordinary individual and subvert their powers of reason.

    When you appeared in court, you did so because some ordinary Joe had made some very unconscious assumptions about the nature of public service. Indeed they considered public service to be a proscriptive thing and not an organ of freedom and security.

    We have to change the way people in public service understand their role. Clerks, paper pushers and judges must understand they are employed by the people, for the people and not as some higher moral authority.

    You are right not to recognise the specious and dubious authority of the court, for, they no longer represent the spirit of your Constitution.

  4. Well, the judge was wrong in taking the the simple word of the prosecuting witness that she saw no cover. We are, after all, innocent until proven guilty. She had to prove that she did not see a cover as the judge asked you for proof that you did place the cover. Most likely a picture of some sort. And in the case the witness said the photo could have been taken at anytime, that anytime would have been BEFORE the court date.

    But anyway, as an employee of a court, I am reminded everyday… we do NOT have a justice system. We have a “legal” system, and rarely the two shall meet.

  5. Look at this as a $200 lesson explaining your true relation to the state and its minions. Money well spent; now you know. I wish everyone could receive such a lesson, so they would wake up.

  6. I feel your pain Chris. Judges are just revenue collectors who have no interest in the law.

    A few years ago I was accused of speeding. When I finally had my day in court and presented evidence that the equipment used to make this determination was not in compliance with the statute regarding it’s calibration and testing, to which the officer even admitted on the stand that I was correct, the JP presiding over the case basically said that he didn’t care what the statute said and if the officer said I was speeding that was good enough for him. Guilty as charged.

    I too now have this blemish on my record because of a man who had no interest in upholding the law.

  7. These “judges” have no idea the contempt I harbor for them. I too have been milked of my hard earned money for ridiculous “non-crimes”, on several occasions. It will not happen again, not while I still have breath in me…

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