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Judicial Immunity Revisited

[What follows here was originally a letter from THE JAILHOUSE LAWYER to Ron Branson. Ron is the founder of the nationwide organization know as "JAIL4judges".]

Dear Ron,

Re: "Currently, it is expressed, although not practiced, that only if a judge acts in the total absence of all jurisdiction is he liable."

This is one reason that the jurisdiction of the courts should always be challenged when citizens are compelled to appear in a criminal action where there is no injury to person or property or otherwise violation of another individuals rights. Where juridiction is not challenged, it is presumed to exist. It has long been held in our nation's courts that once jurisdiction is challenged it must be proven. This is why courts become "touchy" when an individual is intelligently challenging the jurisdiction of the court and making it an issue that needs to be addressed.

I suppose that an argument could be formulated and asserted that today's courts, like King George's courts are exercising a foreign jurisdiction over the People. It is certainly a jurisdiction that is foreign to the principles enumerated in our nation's founding documents. The purpose of government is to secure rights. Where there has been no violation of another's rights; no injury to person or property, where there exists no "Corpus Delecti", there is no basis for one being compelled or summoned into the judicial process.

But history does have a way of repeating itself and the following words from the "Declaration of Rights 1774" are now as relevant as ever;

"Whereas, since the close of the last war, the British Parliament, claiming a power of right to bind the people of America, by statute, [Americans are currently bound by a plethora of statutes/codes and we are told that ignorance of these volumes of statutes/codes is no excuse for being found in violation of these laws] all cases whatsoever, hath in some acts expressly imposed taxes on them and in others, under various pretenses, but in fact for the purpose raising a revenue, [This is the equivalent of many of today's traffic and criminal fines and penalties, court and transcription fees, etc.]hath imposed rates and duties payable in these colonies established a board of commissioners, with unconstitutional powers, and extended the jurisdiction of courts of admiralty, not only for collecting the said duties, but for the trial of causes merely arising within the body of a county.

And whereas, in consequence of other statutes, judges, who before held only estates at will in their offices, have been made dependent on the Crown alone for their salaries, and standing armies kept in time of peace: [Do we not have today in this country judges who are dependant on the government for their salaries? Whose side do you think they will feel obliged to take in those actions that are initiated against an individual by government?]

And whereas, it has lately been resolved in Parliament, that by force of a statute, made in the thirty-fifth year of the reign of Henry the Eighth, colonists may be transported to England, and tried there upon accusations for treasons, and misprisions, or concealments of treasons committed in the colonies, and by a late statute, such trials have been directed in cases therein mentioned... [Many foreign citizens who have been labeled "terrorist" are even now being kidnapped in their own countries and being transported to places in Europe such as Poland and Romania where they are denied every semblence of due process and most likely being tortured. Even now American citizens are being held against their will for years without being charged with any crime. King George (Bush) is now exercising unprecedented and extraordinary powers by way of a multitude of Executive Orders that would of made Old King George blush.]

...And whereas, assemblies have been frequently dissolved, contrary to the rights of the people, when they attempted to deliberate on grievances; and their dutiful, humble, loyal, and reasonable petitions to the Crown for redress, have been repeatedly treated with contempt by His Majesty's ministers of state..." [These same conditions are growing increasingly frequent here in this country as we have seen protesters limited to "Free Speech Zones" and arrested without having commited any unlawful act]


If you don't think that the same conditions that the founding fathers rebelled against exist today, I would implore you to read the following and THINK AGAIN;

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. � Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good...

...He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.

He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance. [Boy Howdy!]

He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature. [Just think of all the government agencies that now carry lethal weapons i.e. USFS, BLM, DEA, FBI, INS, NSA, FCC, FDA, USDOJ, U.S. Marshals Office, NATSB, ATF, Fish & Game, CIA, SEC, OSHA, FTC, USPS, EPA, and the IRS - just to name a few]

He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power. [Congress is even now discussing the doing away with the long standing doctrine of "Posse Comitatus" which prohibits the military from involving itself in civil law-enforcement affairs]

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, [The jurisdiction being exercised in today's criminal courts is a "statutory" jurisdiction and it's existence is foreign to the U.S. Federal Constitution. The Federal Constitution grants to criminal courts only two types of jurisdiction. (Art. III, Sec. 2) One is a criminal jurisdiction under the Common Law, and the other is a criminal action that constitutes a condition of contract under the criminal aspects of a colorable Admiralty jurisdiction. There is absolutely no mention of any "statutory jurisdiction".] and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:

For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us: [We now have the most militarized law-enforcement in the history of this country]

For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:... [Just recently, in Asotin County, Washington, a 19 year-old man was tazered to death while in the county jail. According to the official statement (Get This) the young man was tazered in an effort to keep him from hurting himself. I am sure that after the investigation is complete it will be concluded that this was just another one of those "unfortunate accidents".]

...For imposing taxes on us without our consent: [The 16th Amendment was never legally ratified by the requisite number of states.]

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury: [Currently there are many "crimes" for which a defendant is not afforded a trial by jury in violation of the 6th Amendment]

For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses: [Well - at least American citizens are not currently being transported beyond seas.]

For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:

For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:

For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people..." [I personally know of dozens of lives that have been destroyed by arbitrary and capricious acts of government officials]


The Judicial Branch of government is supposed to be the arbitrator of disputes that arise between our government and the People. Judges are meant to be the protectors of the People against the arbitrary and capricious acts of government officials and as long as they enjoy almost total immunity for any and all crimianal acts and violations of their oath of office and are beholden to government for their salaries they are without incentive to protect the People and the People are conversely without a remedy for the injurious acts and decisions of rogue judges.

The passage of J.A.I.L. would provide both the necessary incentive for judges to do their duty in protecting our rights and liberties against any encroachment by government as well as the Peoples remedy for unlawful and unconstitutional acts committed by those who have sworn an oath to uphold those God-given rights which are enumerated in our country's founding documents. Those rights were not created by government and should not be violated by government and it is the duty of the courts to not let government forget that! If our nation is to survive then the judiciary must again be placed under the wise constraints of the Federal Constitution and once again become the protector of rights and an effective check and balance on the power of the Executive and Legislative branches of government.

We all would do well to heed the warning of Supreme Court Justice Harlan who stated that "It will be an evil day for American liberty if the theory of a government outside of the supreme law of the land finds lodgment in our constitutional jurisprudence. No higher duty rests upon this court than to exert its full authority to prevent all violation of the principles of the Constitution." See Downes v. Bidwell, 182 U.S. 244 (1901), Harlan dissenting.


"When we consider the nature and the theory of our institutions of government, the principles on which they are supposed to rest, and review the history of their development, we are constrained to conclude that they do not mean to leave room for the play and action of purely personal and arbitrary power. Sovereignty itself is, of course, not subject to law, for it is the author and source of law; but in our system, while sovereign powers are delegated to the agencies of government, sovereignty itself remains with the people, by whom and for whom all government exists and acts. And the law is the definition and limitation of power."Yik Wo v. Hopkins, 118 US 356 (1885)

In the battle for Liberty,

"Power is the great evil with which we are contending. We have divided power between three branches of government and erected checks and balances to prevent abuse of power. However, where is the check on the power of the judiciary? If we fail to check the power of the judiciary, I predict that we will eventually live under judicial tyranny." - Patrick Henry

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