Comment on Forbes article “The Trials of Kent Hovind”

Peter Reilly has a new post up on his Forbes blog called The Trials of Kent Hovind-An American Tragedy. It’s a reiteration of Hovind’s case and Reilly’s feeling that maybe the government is too harsh. I wrote the following response to the article, which I think explains why the government is acting as it is:

I really think you can’t discount the influence of sovereign citizen arguments in why the government continues to pursue Kent and Paul. Kent has been represented by more conventional counsel and that counsel has stayed very firmly away from sovereign citizen arguments.

Not so with co-defendant Paul Hansen. During the first trial, Hansen was represented by conventional counsel (Chris Klotz) and struggled mightily because he wanted to present a thoroughgoing sovereign citizen defense. This led to some tussles between counsel and client, because Hansen kept insisting on filing handwritten sovereign citizen motions on his own behalf, which is not what you do when you have an attorney.

In the last week, Hansen has been freed from the constraints of having counsel and is now representing himself. Klotz, however, will be on hand in case Hansen needs help (but in no way is this to be construed as a “hybrid defense”). Now that Paul has gone pro se, we’re seeing the full flower of his particular strain of sovereign citizen theory. This is best demonstrated by a subpoena duces tecum to IRS agent Scott Schneider, which he read over the phone twice to Hovindicator Rudy Davis.

http://www.hovindology.com/?p=262 (link to original transcription and second video with even more subpoena demands)

A cursory reading of the subpoena shows Hansen is drilling in to his basic sovereign citizen argument, which is that the United States of America does not have jurisdiction to try him. You can see this throughout the subpoena, where he asks Schneider, as a proxy for the government, to prove the criminal acts were performed on land owned by the USA, the mailings were done on land owned by the USA or passed over land owned by the USA and so on through the location of the courthouse, the licensing of the prosecutor, the ability of the government to collect taxes, et cetera, et cetera. Number 17 (too long to quote here) is five points where Hansen basically intends to retry Hovind’s 2006 case. Number 18 asks for documentation of the written law or process Hovind and Hansen would have to follow to become United States citizens. (That’s right, Hovind and Hansen don’t believe they are citizens of the United States.)

Not to put too fine of a point on it, but the jurisdictional arguments in this subpoena will simply go nowhere. As to why the government is coming down so hard on Hovind and Hansen has to do with the slippery slope of what I call “sovereign citizen nuttery,” which can be all over the map. At their most benign, sovereign citizen arguments have led people to file reams of paper with various authorities. An example of this would be Hovind’s attempt to renounce his US citizenship in 1998, which he filed with Escambia County, Florida. However, he continued to live in Pensacola even after this attempt.

A step up in sovereign citizen warfare against the government are liens against property. These tend to gum up the system as the subjects of the liens (clerks, police, judges) have to go to court to get the liens removed. In the Hovind case, lis pendens (a type of lien based on a pending lawsuit) were filed to keep the US government from selling parcels belonging to Hovind’s old Dinosaur Adventure Land. These actions led to the criminal contempt of court convictions in March for Hovind and Hansen and to the retrial on mail fraud charges.

I believe the government sees Hovind and Hansen as a continuing problem that has to be squashed. Because there are more extreme forms of sovereign citizen belief. From liens that require court actions to remove, we move on to sovereign citizen house squatters, sovereign citizen burglars and sovereign citizen bank robbers all the way up to sovereign citizens who have been a real threat to law enforcement. Some police officers have died at the hands of self-declared sovereigns. Law enforcement officials have said in 2015 that sovereign citizens are a bigger threat than Islamic terrorism. As a result, the government has made it very clear it is not going to put up with sovereign citizen theories because of where they could lead people.

I agree with you, Peter, that this is a tragic situation, but it’s one entirely of Kent Hovind’s own making. I can’t help but wonder if Hovind were to get out of jail on parole in August, as had originally been the plan, if he wouldn’t be back in prison a short time later for failing to cooperate with the terms of his parole. Certainly he would be required to be conventionally tax compliant and get a job with W-2 withholdings. (It’s not likely the terms of his parole would allow him to take up itinerant creation evangelism again.) I could very much see Kent objecting strenuously to tax withholding at the job he will be required to take as part of his parole. After all, the prosecution did show at the 2006 trial that Hovind browbeat churches which tried to be conventionally tax compliant and withhold a sum of money to be submitted to the IRS along with a 1099.

Kent would do well to take your advice, but so far he has not. And, contrary to Hovindicator belief, I don’t want to harm Kent Hovind. I actually don’t know if he’s guilty of the mail fraud charges because I haven’t seen the evidence. But I do think Kent is his own worst enemy and some of the Hovindicators are encouraging him in that.

Paul Hansen’s subpoena duces tecum

Paul Hansen called Rudy twice yesterday to go over what he intends to file as a subpoena duces tecum of IRS agent Scott Schneider since he is now representing himself. I went through the first video and transcribed it Hansen reading the first 18 points. He’s since gone back and added several more, and if I find time to listen to that, I will update this post. However, to be honest, it’s “more of the same.” And, not to put too fine of a point on it, this subpoena will be quashed if it even gets served. It is worth a read, however, if only to get an insight into the head of a hard core sovereign citizen.

As you read this, keep in mind that Paul Hansen is huge on jurisdiction. He thinks he can show that he and Kent are not under the jurisdiction of the United States of America and thus not subject to federal charges. Or income tax. Or forfeiture. Or much of anything.

Paul:  I have in front of me a document subpoena duces tecum that I’m delivering to Chris Klotz, my 6th Amendment counsel in the case U.S. V. Paul Hansen and Kent Hovind. The subpoena I’m putting together here is to Scott Schneider, IRS criminal agent that prosecuted Kent in 2006 and prosecuted him again in 2015. 0038 Duces tecum simply means bringing the documents to court. I’m going to read them off and it’s self-explanatory. Basically it’s a notice for Scott to bring documents with him when he appears in court and it also gives him time to get the documents together and prepare to answer questions which might be associated with the documents.
Number One:  Documentation that evidences that Hovind or Hansen did the charged claimed acts on land owned by the USA, as the USA is titled in the Articles of Confederation. 0121
Number Two:  Documentation that evidences that Hovind or Hansen did any mailings, emails, calls or filings where the land is owned by the USA
[Number Three:] Documentation that evidences that Hovind or Hansen’s mailings, emails, calls or filings passed over land owned by the USA
Number Four:  Documentation that evidences that Hovind or Hansen mailings, phone calls, e-mails were effected upon land owned by the USA
[Number Five:] Documentation that evidences that the courthouse building the cases?/places? where Hovind was tried in 2006 and 2015 and the case to be tried in May 2015 is owned by the USA.
Number Six: Documentation that evidences the attorney, Eggers, representing the USA, has a state of Florida attorney license that operates on land owned by the USA
[Number Seven:] Documentation that evidences Creation Science Evangelism workers operated on land owned by the USA in (repeats from the start) 1995 to 2006.
Number Eight: Documentation that evidences the bank that Hovind was indicted in 2006 as with structuring was operating on land owned by the USA
Number Nine:  Documentation that evidences Kent Hovind was authorized to withhold taxes for the United States as prosecuted in 2006 0342.
Number Ten:  Documentation that evidences Kent Hovind or Hansen was a resident or resided on land owned by the USA at any time from 1995 to 2015.
Number Eleven:  Documentation that evidences when and how the plaintiff was created. The plaintiff in this case is the USA, all capital letters.
Number Twelve:  Documentation that evidences what plaintiff relied upon to create to prove the court’s personal jurisdiction over the man called Paul John Hansen and the man called Kent Hovind. 0426
Number Thirteen:  Documentation that evidences the man Paul John Hansen and the man called Kent Hovind is a person named in the charged written laws of this case.
Number Fourteen:  Documentation that evidences the definition of the term “person” used in the charged written law of this case.
Number Fifteen:  Documentation that evidences the charged written law of this case has force and effect of law on land that is not owned by the USA.
Number Sixteen:  Documentation that evidences the IRS agent/agents have written authority to operate outside of the fifty United States.
Number Seventeen:  Documentation that evidences that you, Scott Schneider, knew any of the following at any time from 1995 to 2015:  (1) Kent did not have workers, Creation Science Evangelism workers, working on land of the USA [(2)] Kent had no duty to withhold any tax from any worker associated with Creation Science Evangelism the ministry. (3) Kent had no banking activity 0600, structuring actions associated with any illegal or criminal activity. (4) That all or some of the United States written laws as charged from 2006 to 2015 do not apply to Kent Hovind or where Kent Hovind operated. (5) What written law does the USA rely upon that gave authority to Judge Rodgers to administratively take property belonging to Creation Science Evangelism Trust and land and property not on land owned by the USA.
Number Eighteen (the last one): Documentation of the written law the United States relied upon that was the process Hansen or Hovind would have needed to follow to become a United States citizen.
That should do it.

The updated subpoena video can be seen here:

Catch-up Post

Preliminary note:  I apologize for failing to update the blog.  Just after the trial ended, I wrenched my right shoulder so badly I thought I had torn the rotator cuff. The good news is my doctor thinks I just strained it hard. With that…

Where we are at right now, at least from the legal perspective:

  • Kent Hovind and Paul Hansen were tried from March 2 to March 12, 2015.  Here is a link to Document 142 Criminal Minutes – Trial, which gives a rundown of who testified and when the jury retired and returned with the verdict.
  • Document 143 is Judge Rodgers’ instructions to the jury.
  • Document 145 is the jury verdict form for Kent Hovind. You’ll see that the jury was able to agree on only one count, which was for criminal contempt of court.  The jury based its decision on a June 28, 2007 order forfeiting property.  (Paul Hansen was found guilty on counts five and six, but I don’t have his jury verdict form.)
  • Document 150 is a mistrial order for the other three counts.
  • On March 20, the government filed a notice of intent to proceed to trial (Document 153). Subsequently, Judge Rodgers set the trial date of Monday, May 18, 2015.
  • Paul Hansen is now allowed to represent himself (aka pro se) as of April 28, 2015. The same order appoints Christopher Klotz as his backup counsel.

The tl;dr is that defendants Hovind and Hansen were found guilty of criminal contempt (Hovind – count 2; Hansen – counts 5 and 6). The government immediately requested a retrial on the three mail fraud charges which is scheduled for May 18. I will be in attendance at that trial. (Plane tickets paid for, car and hotel reserved…)

As for the small band of Kent Hovind Fan Club members (aka “Hovindicators”) who think “Pastor Hovind”* is being persecuted, they continue to make arguments which are either not germane to the current prosecution, not applicable to Kent Hovind, misleading or flat-out lies. I’ll be discussing those in a separate post.

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* The Hovindicators have taken to calling Kent “Pastor Hovind.” The problem is there is no evidence whatsoever that Hovind ever ran a church or ever served in a pastoral capacity anywhere. I believe they’re basing this on the ministerial trusts Kent Hovind purchased from Glenn Stoll as a way to avoid taxes. Judge Rodgers found those trusts invalid because Glenn Stoll, the trustee, was a “nominee title holder” for the Hovinds. He had no control over the trust real property and the CSE Foundation account. (See July 29, 2009 Order by Judge Rodgers.) Moreover, as Kent and the Hovindicators like to claim, Hovind traveled and spoke “900 times” a year before his incarceration, mostly before churches. This doesn’t give him time to be at home to pastor a church. Finally, we know from David Gibbs III’s testimony at the 2006 trial that Kent and his family were members at Marcus Pointe Baptist Church (see Testimony Volume IV at pp. 15-16). I have known quite a few hard-working pastors who shepherded their flocks and paid taxes. It annoys me to have tax protester and sovereign citizen Kent Hovind in their number.