From the March 2001 Idaho Observer:
The Anti-Government Movement Guidebook: A brief review
The following story, we have been told, is just the beginning of an incredible odyssey into the secret rooms where the rules of contemporary court are carefully crafted to achieve ends that are anathema to how most people would define justice. In this case, we see how the nation's judges are instructed to be prejudiced against those whom the government has labeled as anti-government. And, we are told, this is just the beginning.
by June Wisniewski
The Anti-Government Movement Guidebook (AGMG) and Dealing With Common Law Courts: A Model Curriculum for Judges and Court Staff Instructor's Manual (CLCC) are training manuals prepared for use by the judicial courts throughout the country.
These books may be characterized as an attempt to standardize the judicial treatment of certain classes of persons. It is significant evidence of a concerted effort to bypass local laws and get all of the judiciary in America working by the same set of rules, regardless of the statutes, rules, and jurisdiction of the local, state, and national courts. The Nationa Center for the State Courts (NCSC) and CLCC publications describe how the judges are being trained to manipulate hearings, trials, paper filing, and court procedures against pro se litigants (litigants who represent themselves).
The AGMG and CLCC can have a strong influence on the outcome of anyone's appearing (with or without local representation) in any local, state, federal, or administrative court in United States. Judges throughout the world are trained at the National Judicial College (NJC) where these books are located in the repository of the State Justice Institute (SJI). SJI is the one of the major funding sources of NCSC and NJC. The curriculum for these courses and materials was developed under a grant, Award No. SJI-9996-02B-B-159 from SJI. SJI is a non-profit corporation that was started in 1986, and is funded by Congress to develop courses and training manuals for state courts and judicial training organizations.
NCSC advises judges to hold these training seminars with taxpayer dollars, used to develop pre-emptive techniques against the public, away from their local courthouse, usually in expensive resort areas, such as Nashville, TN, and Scottsdale, AZ.
Section 2-3 of the CLCC states, An effort should be made to hold the course away from judicial buildings to mitigate the concerns of CLC activists who, once informed that such a course is being taught (and they will undoubtedly find out!), will view the course as another attempt by a corrupt judiciary to conspire against the will of the people and subvert the rights and privileges of fellow citizens. Holding the course at a courthouse will only serve to convince CLC followers that the judges and clerks are entrenching themselves and circling the wagons, and that they, the CLC, are achieving results from their campaigns of paper terrorism and intimidation. If, as occurred, at the ICM course, CLC activists show up to gain entry to the course, every effort should be made to dissuade them, politely but firmly, from participating. Throughout the planning and delivery of the course, keep in mind that the NCSC is available to assist you, your advisory committee, and the course faculty in any way the Center may be helpful.
The attitude of the court and training materials is to allow judges to rule without following court rules, statutes, and written procedures, and to hold a pro se litigant in contempt of court, through sanctions and/or jail time if he objects or disagrees with the ruling of the court.
I have had personal recent experience with biased rulings by a probate court proceeding in New Jersey in January, 2001. When my cousin went to court, and questioned a ruling the judge made, the judge said that he could rule any way he wanted to because it was his court.
My cousin had to firmly but patiently explain to the judge that he was failing to follow NJ court rules and procedures, and that this was an issue that could be appealed, and finally got the judge to follow the posted rules. This type of experience is happening frequently, and when you go into court you have to carry everything with you if you want to prevail.
The AGMH is about 250 pages, with the first 93 pages being text, and the rest of the book being appendices on what NCSC calls anti-government hate documents and forms, which the book states is being reprinted with the permission of Attorney Larry Becraft, the Americans' Bulletin, and others. These two sources would have never given permission to print material in a hate manual against the public.
The AGMH has several sections, Common Law and Uncommon Courts: An Overview of the Common Law Court Movement, Tactics in the Courtroom, Disrupting the Operation of the Court, and Tactics Outside of the Courtroom. The court personnel are using preventive measures against the public, and assume that if you just happen to represent yourself in court, you are going to be disruptive.
On p. 66 of the AGMH it states that if a pro se litigant takes an action against a judge, court security should be notified and the judge should consult legal counsel to strategize individual responses against the pro se. The book says several times that preventive measures should be taken against self-represented litigants.
Pro se litigants have been successful in filing liens against judges and have succeeded in getting an involuntary bankruptcy filed against a judge for thousands of dollars, as mentioned on p. 77 of AGMG.
Any correspondence as letters, e-mails, or court documents filed by self-represented litigants to the court complaining about court actions, procedures or laws against the litigant are construed as "threats" to the court personnel, p. 81 of AGMG.
The AGMG states that court personnel who are served with lawsuits should notify the authorities, and retain counsel to determine if it is a "real" case, or one that can be dealt without litigation, or ignored entirely, on p. 78. Pages 54 to 84 deal with scenarios against self-represented litigants, and how to manipulate court proceedings against them.
The CLCC has a section called "Actions of the CLC and Suggested Responses," on sections 5-1 to 5-9. This sections covers actions and responses to court clerks, judges, government buildings, and the legislative branch.
This section seems to dealing with handling self-represented litigants by giving them a set time to state their argument in a court appearance, then to move on when the time expires, in section 2-3. Section 2-9 shows that the court is being trained to use contempt as a method to control litigants. Section 2-11 trains the court to decide which requests are unreasonable.
My own case
I am a litigant in two probate cases in NJ, where the assignment judge and other court personnel decided that I was not allowed to see and have access to my own court file, and I was denied information on where assets were located in both probate cases. The court personnel was trained at NJC and other training organizations to deny access to my court files, and I have been threatened with contempt of court in one case if I persisted in trying to obtain information in my own court case.
Section 3-1 of the CLCC states that the judges, court administrators, the executive branch (Attorney General's office), and legal organizations such as bar associations and judges associations should engage in techniques against litigants. Section 5-1 states that self-representation should be monitored in the state, and laws should be established expeditiously against self-represented litigants who disagree with court rulings and proceedings. There is a similar section in the AGMG on p. 78, which states that the court personnel should file for abuse of process and seek sanctions against the plaintiff. The court gets to decide what is frivolous and abuse of process, even if a real issue is involved.
The CLCC states that legislation should be drafted against litigants who are harrassing the court in section 5-1, but fails to state specifically what they mean. When the litigants try to get the laws passed, the CLCC tells them to appoint a liaison to communicate with the representatives of the other branches of government who are monitoring them. It appears that the government does not want laws passed in favor of self-represented litigants. When my cousin read this article, she felt as if her rights as promised to her in the Constitution as Liberty, were silently being taken away.
Creating judicial prejudice
On pp. 81-82, of the AGMG, there is a section which deals with threats against court personnel, and any attempt to state an opinion or get a court paper filed is considered a threat. Sometimes court personnel try to screen documents, and refuse to give litigants the court forms they request.
Here is a good example: "While members of the movement pose just as great a threat to clerks as they do to the police and law enforcement officials, it is often the case that they are simply trying to force the government to do what it says it will, or to perhaps feel as if they have exercised some authority over the state.
Chuck Ericksen, now the Institute for Court Management (ICM), director for NCSC tells stories of a group of followers who would come to the clerk's office in Washington state to ask for an obscure document that the clerk was supposed to have available upon request. Apparently, these people would come every year to ask for this document, and would become combative and belligerent when the clerk failed to produce it.
Finally the clerk put the document out in a basket, and provided it when asked. Once they had gotten the document the followers were courteous and polite, and left without incident."
This example shows that sometimes the judges and court personnel create their own problems. When many of us go into court and to the clerk's office, sometimes we are just looking for forms and procedural information, and the AGMG states that the courts should cooperate with us. Most of the information in these two books is biased and against us, but some of it is helpful. It is up to us to screen out the helpful parts and bring it into court with us to help us prevail in our court cases.
This information and the books mentioned are available in the States Justice Institute repository in your state. You can get this information on the internet at http://www.statejustice.org. In Idaho, for example, these books are available at the state Supreme Court library. Check the website to see where your information is available.
June Wisniewski is a member of The American Media Association who writes about probate issues, judicial ethics and training, and media constraints.