About a year ago, we wrote about a group of people who were filing documents at the county recorder’s office declaring that they were Moors and giving themselves new names.
The documents they filed proclaimed that as Moors, they had ancestors who were natives of northern Africa and that they had settled places like Atlantis and even North, South and Central America in ancient times. That said, the people filing these documents claimed that as Moors, they were not subject to the laws of the United States, Indiana, or any city or county.
On the surface, that sounds like a handy way to get out of a charge of driving without a license, drunken driving and so on, but it doesn’t really work that way.
As County Recorder John McGauley explained it, you can record anything, but that doesn’t necessarily make it so.
The rate of people recording declarations that they are Moors has diminished somewhat. Once every couple of weeks, someone will come into McGauley’s office and record the standard set of Moorish proclamations.
Perhaps that is because, as some have found out, you can’t declare yourself immune from laws.
Take the case of one man who was arrested for driving while intoxicated last September. It isn’t clear whether he used the argument that he was a Moor, but various documents show that he declared himself a Moor last November, a couple of months after being arrested and about a month before appearing in court. A summary of his case showed only that he pleaded not guilty and asked for a jury trial, then was arrested on a warrant for failing to appear at a court hearing. A couple of days later, the man appeared in court, pleaded guilty and was released. Later, his license was suspended, and he was placed on probation.
In February, though, the man filed a federal lawsuit claiming his constitutional rights had been violated and the ticket he got was unconstitutional, demanding that anyone involved in his case be recused from office, and seeking $75,000 in compensatory damages and $75,000 in punitive damages each against the state, the Allen Superior Court, something called the centralized infractions bureau and the officers who arrested him.
As supporting documentation were attached several pages of Moorish rigmarole. It is a curious claim, that a person who says he is not governed by the laws of the land would claim he had been denied his constitutional rights as guaranteed by the law of the land.
I was curious, though, how the federal court, which is not a place to play games, would respond to such a suit.
The court responded in a patient, even kind way. In a three-page order, the judge explained that complaints must contain factual matter, accepted as true, to ask for plausible relief.
The order, which noted that the filing was largely incomprehensible boilerplate, said the complaint was not presented in appropriate form and that the court could dismiss the case. It also noted that the complainant had not paid the filing fee among other failings. The judge ordered the clerk to send the complainant several blank forms needed to properly file a suit, and even a petition asking to be excused from having to pay the filing fee. The man was given until March 27 to refile, after which the suit would be dismissed.
To me – a person who tries to avoid getting mixed up in federal court matters – it seemed to be a kind, patient response to nonsense.
We’ll have to wait until March 27 to see what happens next.