FROM “IN DEFENSE OF RURAL AMERICA”
by Ron Ewart, President, NARLO, ©2014
(Apr. 20, 2014) — “There has to be some limit to what lawyers can take from their clients. Otherwise, cagey attorneys end up with the lion’s share of the settlement and the victims end up with little more than scraps.” — Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives
There are two kinds of people in America: those that have never had to hire an attorney and those that have been bilked by one. We have had our own experiences with attorneys, one who tried to blackmail us over the telephone and another one who sucked us dry to the tune of $35,000 on a 100% frivolous lawsuit where we had to mortgage our home to pay him.
We have heard many other horror stories from individuals that find themselves in a corrupt court system, being taken to the cleaners by their attorney, defending against some government notice of violation. At from $250 to over $600 per hour, the average individual’s savings won’t begin to pay for what an attorney can charge in even a small case. It could take a month for the average American to earn what an attorney earns in 10 hours. Nevertheless, millions of Americans are suddenly brought up short and robbed blind when government comes to call and they are forced to enter a system of attorneys, judges and court clerks that rule the roost with a thousand rules that no one else knows except attorneys, judges and court clerks.
Attorneys have absolutely no incentive whatsoever to bring a case to a quick close when they are paid a large sum per hour and the judges and court clerks don’t care. We witnessed one situation where an attorney sucked a significant estate dry with attorney’s fees, did not pay the property taxes that he was required to do and the property was auctioned off for taxes. The heirs received nothing, but the attorney lined his pockets with exorbitant hourly fees and got away with it. He should have been disbarred and sent to jail for grand theft.
The American judicial system is a closed club, run by members only. Members are attorneys, judges and court clerks and the odd law professor. None other need apply, or have the audacity to enter the court pro se, without a large dose of courage, a thick skin and months of research. If you are an attorney, you live in a surreal bubble where only the anointed are granted entry, a purposely opaque bubble that the average American will never see or understand in their entire lifetime. Being an attorney is not a profession it is legalized theft at the expense of the uninitiated and the unwary. At best, the American judicial system is a crapshoot (or a stacked deck if you prefer) where the only people that win are the members of the club.
In this article we will present ways on how to fight government on civil violations without having to hire one of those over-educated leeches that will bleed you dry, if you let them. Unfortunately, in a very complicated case, defending yourself without an attorney is legal suicide. The corrupt court system will chew you up and spit you out without an ounce of compunction, or a “smidgeon” (Obama’s word of the day) of empathy. Nevertheless, in many cases brought by the government against a citizen or landowner for some infraction of the law (there are so many laws) defending yourself without an attorney can be a reasonable route to take. However, if you don’t like hard work, pouring over laws and statutes and understanding how the corrupt judicial system works, we don’t recommend it. For those of you who do not fear the government or the judicial system, read on. The trick is to stop government before you or they get to the attorney/court stage.
Most of you aren’t in trouble with government but one day you will be. Will you be prepared? Let’s just say you have received a letter or notice from a government agent or agency stating that you are in violation of some law and if you don’t correct the violation, the government is going to fine you, or even throw you in jail. What do you do? Do you call the lawyer? You do only if you want to spend what’s in your savings account and maybe even mortgage your home and you still won’t know whether you can win or not because your lawyer won’t tell you. He doesn’t know. But what he will do is a lot of research on your behalf, at the expense of your rapidly depleting savings account, if you are fortunate enough to have one.
If you are smart, you will read the letter or notice from government very carefully and pick out the salient points of what it is saying. Don’t delay in responding to the notice, as there are time limits involved with filing an appeal. ABOVE ALL, DON’T IGNORE THE NOTICE! A written response should be made within three (3) business days of receipt of the letter or notice and should be sent to the government agent or agency, by “Certified-Return Receipt Requested,” U.S. Mail. Always demand a response in writing from government and never trust what a government agent or employee tells you verbally. In a pinch, they will lie to cover their tails and they will deny ever having said anything to you.
This is what you need to determine from the letter or notice from government in order to respond. What agency is sending you the letter or notice ….. names, address and phone number? Of what “legal” violation are you being accused? Does the letter cite a specific law or statute that you have violated? What are the penalties for non-compliance or correction of the violation? How much time do you have to “fix” the violation? If it is a very minor violation, you fix it because fixing it is less expensive than fighting it. However, if it is a major violation you have everything to gain by challenging it.
Government, being the brute that it is, will use an official looking letter or notice to intimidate you into compliance. Given the explosion of land use and environmental laws and ordinances, rural landowners are especially vulnerable to receiving a letter or notice from government alleging some code violation. Homeowners in large cities are also vulnerable, but less so. This information may also apply to a run-of-the-mill traffic stop.
If you don’t comply, government can then use their enforcement arm to better explain it to you by fining you or hauling you off to jail ….. or worse, pulling out the guns as they just did in Nevada against long-time rancher Cliven Bundy, (snipers and attack dogs mind you) ala Ruby Ridge and Waco. It’s happening every day, all over America on our way to a police state because of way too many laws. Federal bureaucracies are the worst offenders.
But government is inept, grossly negligent and just plain stupid. It saves everything, even evidence of its own wrongdoing. It uses inflexible policies and processes to implement law, even if government is operating under the “color of law.” Government knows that people are so used to complying, they won’t expect you to challenge them by confronting them with their own law. But first, you have to have a general idea of what the law is that government is trying to implement, or enforce and you need to know your rights under the law. If you don’t know the law to some degree, your goose is cooked. You might just as well comply.
STOP GOVERNMENT IN ITS TRACKS!
First, do not assume that government has the authority to conduct the actions it is taking against you. That isn’t always the case. Government, at all levels, has become so consumed with its own power that it will impute a law where no law or statute authority exists. If this is the case, they are operating under the “color of law,” which is a federal crime (42 USC, S 1983) and the government employees or officers responsible can be held personally liable for your damages. Because our nation of laws has become so cumbersome and complex, the chances of government operating under the “color of law” has risen exponentially. If you don’t challenge government as to its statute authority for the law it is citing, you may be complying with a letter or notice of a violation, when no such law or legal authority exists.
A couple of precedent setting U.S. Supreme Court decisions have admonished every American having any business with the government, to confirm that a government agency or government agent has the statute authority to conduct the actions it is taking. In the US v. Mersky case, the Supreme Court ruled that:
“Once promulgated, these regulations, called for by the statute itself, have force of law, and violations thereof incur criminal prosecution, just as if all the details had been incorporated into the congressional language. The result is that neither the statute nor the regulations are complete without the other, and only together do they have any force. In effect, therefore, the construction of one necessarily involves the construction of the other.” UNITED STATES V. MERSKY, 361 U.S. 431, 438 (1960)
If you don’t challenge government on its statute authority, its authority, or lack thereof, goes unchecked. In a two-step process you hit them with a 30-day letter to buy time, (HERE) then you follow up with a letter/notice challenging government’s legal authority. (see link in next paragraph)
Much of the information on how to challenge government without hiring a lawyer, is covered in our highly informative Landowner Handbook that is available on our website HERE. The Handbook comes on a USB Flash Drive and includes three videos, a power point presentation, a concentrated real estate course and a mountain of valuable resource information. It represents a compilation of over 30 years experience in a wide range of land use issues by the author. The Handbook also includes a sample letter/notice that any American can use when confronted by a written or verbal, letter or notice of violation from government, even for a traffic stop. The sample letter/notice is also available HERE. Instructions for the letter/notice use are provided as well. The Handbook includes a link to almost every state’s general statutes so you can research the law of your state. Although originally designed for rural landowners, the information presented in the Handbook is valuable for city dwellers as well, should they fall afoul of some government law, including the IRS.
Way too many Americans just roll over when confronted by government. Don’t give in, fight back! Government isn’t the great Goliath it makes itself out to be, but they don’t want you to know that. As we have said many times before, if you fear government, government owns you ….. just as sure as a master owns a slave. We’ve been fighting them for several years and we have been winning. We know others who are winning as well. The question is, will you fight or will you roll over when government comes a calling and looking for your wallet ….. or point a gun at you, put on the handcuffs and march you off to jail? That’s right, we now live in a police state. Just ask Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his fight with the BLM. Without challenging government’s power and legal authority, the police state will only get stronger.
DISCLAIMER: It is not always possible to determine the whole truth when searching available information. Consequently, we make no warranties, express or implied, that the information presented in this article is accurate in all respects. Much of it was pulled from what we determined to be reliable sources. It is the sole responsibility of the reader to verify the information for his or her own particular situation. The material provided is for information purposes only and there is no attempt by the author to provide legal or accounting advice to anyone whatsoever. Under no circumstances are we advocating that any American break the law ….. whatever the law is determined to be. Know your rights ….. or lose them!
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NOTE: The following article represents the opinion of the author and is not necessarily shared by the owners, employees, representatives, or agents of the publisher.
Ron Ewart, a nationally known author and speaker on freedom and property issues and author of his weekly column, “In Defense of Rural America,” is the President of the National Association of Rural Landowners, (NARLO) (http://www.narlo.org) a non-profit corporation headquartered in Washington State, an advocate and consultant for urban and rural landowners. He can be reached for comment at email@example.com.