From the March 2001 Idaho Observer:

Does the “strawman” really exist?

Mark Alan case a test of legal fiction argument

By Don Harkins

Since being introduced to the “redemption” process, I have believed that the all capital names on legal presentments were merely a matter of style and, contrary to popular patriot opinion, indicated no prosecutorial authority of its own. The Mark Alan case may be proving me wrong.

At the bond hearing Feb. 14, Mark Alan explained to an extremely accommodating and patient Magistrate Judge Cynthia Imbrogno that he was not prepared to proceed because the paperwork being used to prosecute him was not styled properly with his correct name. His name is Mark Alan and Rabenold is the surname used by his father. The paperwork being used to prosecute him does not contain his proper name. He insisted that he must be addressed by his lawful name for this matter to go forward.

The first documents in this matter identified MARK ALAN RABENOLD as the defendant. Mark Alan claims that this is a legal fiction and is not him, a Christian Freeman walking on the land. The pleadings presented by the government at the bond hearing identified Mark Alan as "MARK ALAN RABENOLD, a.k.a. Mark Alan."

Mark Alan claims that this is still not his legal name and that for him to acknowledge the paperwork would be to voluntarily assume a mistaken identity for the purposes of being prosecuted.

According to Mark Alan, the government's "agents and principles" have been notified on four separate occasions via certified mail as to the lawful form of his name and have been given ample time to respond and rebut his claims and have failed to do so. Therefore, he argued, Mark Alan is his lawful name but prosecutors in this matter have thus far refused to acknowledge his lawful name. To use anything other than his lawful name is disrespectful and, Mark Alan reasoned, constitutes "defective service." Mark Alan told the judge that for the government to show disrespect for a man's name is unconscionable and that, "without a name we are nothing but cattle in a feed lot."

Hopkins said that the government agrees to respect Mark Alan's name. However, the record of his life, including a concealed carry permit and letters in support from friends, indicates that his name is Mark Alan Rabenold. Hopkins maintains that the government must style the defendant's name in a manner that is legally viable.

Judge Imbrogno made a vague comment that the prosecution must in the future correctly identify Mark Alan, but did not describe exactly how that should be accomplished. It would appear that the government has no intention of budging on this issue.

Mark Alan's court appointed advisory counsel Gerald Smith was asked after the hearing if he felt the name issue is merely a matter of style. He was also asked if he felt that Mark Alan's arguments had merit. If the government were to correctly identify him by his lawful name, could the change force the case to be dismissed on jurisdictional grounds?

Smith did not comment on whether or not the jurisdictional issue has legal merit. He explained that the government does not like having its authority challenged and that its refusal to budge on the name issue can be described as a power trip.

After seemingly appreciating Mark Alan's beliefs where proper use of his lawful name on legal documents associated with his prosecution are concerned, Judge Imbrogno turned around and signed a PRETRIAL DETENTION ORDER that identified Mark Alan as, "MARK ALAN, RABENOLD, also known as Mark Alan (Rabenold)."

What is in a name?

1. Judge Imbrogno appeared sympathetic, but refused to use what Mark Alan refers to as his "lawful name" on the detention order.

2. The government's public position is that it is a silly matter that has no bearing on due process but refuses to respond or rebut Mark Alan's claims. The government also refuses to accommodate his desire to be identified by the name "Mark Alan."

3. Mark Alan's advisory counsel stated that if it were him, he would simply let the government call him anything it wants to if it meant being released from jail pending trial. He also believes that government refusal to accommodate Mark Alan's demand to be identified by his "lawful name" is merely the procedural result of government agents who become angered when citizens challenge their presumed authority.

For some time now I have gone under the assumption that the all caps representation of a person's name on legal documents is a style issue. Though the government has attempted to make us believe that the name issue is insignificant, it has been using coercive measures in its attempts to badger Mark Alan into "traversing" on this issue. Government actions indicate that the name issue is not insignificant and that to accommodate Mark Alan in this matter could be grounds for dismissal of this case.

Mark Alan believes that the government's improper use of his name is a critical issue. If he steadfastly defies government trickery and coercion intended to get him to accept its use of a legal fiction to identify him in court, Mark Alan believes the court will be forced by law to drop the federal charges against him for lack of jurisdiction.

Mark Alan's case has all the earmarks of a true test of theories regarding the jurisdictional significance of how a person's name is represented on legal documents.

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