Marc Stevens

Background

Not known.

Theories Advocated/Promoted

Although in many ways a run-of-the-mill anarchist, Stevens distinguishes himself with bizarre notion that the government does not have "standing" to enforce its own laws in court, and that the court therefore does not have jurisdiction. He also believes that jurisdiction must be "proved" even when the court has jurisdiction as a matter of law, and has raised questions about the difference between "United States" and "United States of America."

Books, Web Sites, Videos, and Organizations

Stevens is the author of Adventures in Legal Land, and has a web site, MarcStevens.net, at which he promotes his book, his "No State Project" radio show, and his "consulting services."

Court Actions

There are no known court proceedings involving Stevens personally.

Students/Disciples/Associates

Among the "success stories" on his forum, Stevens claimed to have "helped" a taxpayer in Wyoming federal district court, docket number 05-CV-141-D. That case was an action by the IRS to enforce a summons to compel the production of financial records as part of a tax investigation into a man named Marc Edwards. Stevens is not a lawyer, so he was not allowed to represent Edwards in court or allowed to speak on the record, but one of the court documents describes his presence as "to aid in notetaking." Edwards filed a few "motions to strike" the petition of the IRS. In them, he advanced the arguments Stevens makes, such in Document #4, in which he claims that the government lacks a "case or controversy" and "standing." In http://www.box.net/shared/static/4ofo9og40c.pdf Document # 6], another motion to strike, he argues that the IRS agent lacks "personal knowledge". These arguments all lost, and the court granted the petition to enforce the summons, referring to one of Edwards's (and Stevens's) arguments as "sophistry." United States v. Marc Edwards, No. 2:05-cv-00141-WFD (U.S.D.C. Wyo. 8/25/2005), aff'd No. 05-8085 (10th. Cir. 3/27/2006) (arguments that government failed to "present a cause of action," or that the government should have been required to provide a more definite statement about whether it was "alleging a contract dispute or a tort," or that the IRS agent was "not qualified to testify about" matters relevant to the enforcement of the summons because the agent could not tell "the difference between Wyoming are the State of Wyoming," or that there was a difference between the "United States of America" and "United States," are all "patently frivolous"; sanctions of $6,000 imposed for frivolous appeal), cert. den., No. 06-917, 127 S.Ct. 1380 (2007).

The trial of Michael George Fitzpatrick on two counts of failing to file corporate tax returns and two counts of tax evasion has been a subject of commentary by Stevens, because many of the arguments made by Fitzpatrick in his motion for acquittal notwithstanding the guilty verdicts are arguments that Stevens advocates. The District Court denied the motion (Doc. # 118), finding that it had previously found that it had subject matter and personal jurisdiction (Doc. # 83). United States v. Michael George Fitzpatrick, No. 2:2010-cr-00089] (U.S.D.C. Idaho 10/29/2012), appeal filed and withdrawn, No. 13-30154 (9th Cir. 6/25/2014). Stevens attempted to file a petition for habeas corpus on behalf of Michael Fitzpatrick, raising jurisdictional and other arguments, but the petition was dismissed within four days because Stevens lacked standing to act for Fitzpatrick, that he "displays the characteristics of an 'intruder[] of uninvited meddler[]' with only a 'generalized interest in constitutional governance' as he understands it," and that it is "precisely this kind of person that the limitations on next-friend standing are intended to screen out." Marc Stevens v. Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler, No. 2:13-cv-00053-LAB (U.S.D.C. Idaho 2/1/2013).

Stevens was listed as a "representative" for James R. Weatherford in an appeal of an administrative action by the Transportation Security Administration. Weatherford was allegedly found with a "kubaton" (which is classified as a prohibited weapon by the TSA) containing a concealed knife (also a prohibited weapon) in carry-on luggage at Richmond International Airport, and the TSA filed a civil complaint, which was sustained by an administrative law judge because Weatherford had filed a "Motion to Strike/Dismiss" (which included a claim that the TSA lacked standing, probably on the advice of Stevens), which was denied, but didn't file an answer even when directed to do so after his motion was denied, and so the allegations in the complaint were deemed to be admitted. The ALJ therefore found that Weatherford had violated 49 C.F.R. § 1540.111(a) and assessed a civil penalty of $1,500, which decision was sustained by the Department of Homeland Security. In the Matter of: James B. Weatherford, Dept. of Homeland Security Transportation Security Adm., Docket No. 12-TSA-0029 (2/27/2013). Weatherford's petition for review to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals was similarly denied. James Weatherford v. Dept. of Homeland Security et al., No. 13-1339, (4th Cir. 9/19/13).

A man named Scott Banfield, who has posted to Marc Stevens's forum, tried to use Stevens's standing, jurisdiction, and "prove that the law applies to me" arguments in a traffic ticket case in Indiana, and was still fined $35.50 and ordered to pay court costs. On appeal, the Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed that the trial judge did not abuse its discretion in restricting Banfield's cross-examination of the state trooper who issued the ticket and in sustaining objections to questions about whether the trooper was "knowledgeable in the interpretation and application of the Constitution and the statutes of the State of Indiana," "factually, what is a statute," "is the statute in question today applicable to me," "do you have any facts or evidence to present today to show that this court has jurisdiction over me as a person," or "do you have any factual evidence to demonstrate the existence of a plaintiff known as State of Indiana," because Indiana Evidence Rule 704(b) provides that a witness may not testify as to legal conclusions. The Court of Appeals found that the trial court had both subject-matter and personal jurisdiction, because Indiana statutes granted the court jurisdiction over criminal matters, including traffic infractions, and the court had personal jurisdiction because Banfield is a resident of Indiana who received a speeding ticket and summons. The Court of Appeals also addressed the issue of the "standing" of the State of Indiana, stating that "the issue of standing—which focuses on whether the complaining party is the proper person to invoke the court’s power and ensures that litigation is actively and vigorously contested—[citation omitted]—does not apply to infraction cases where the State is the plaintiff and represented by the prosecuting attorney." Scott Banfield v. State of Indiana, No. 02A04-1210-IF-536 (Ct. App. Ind. 7/16/2013).

Stevens attempted to serve as "council" in a New Hampshire traffic violation case, but was similarly unsuccessful. According to the hearing officer, Stevens (who was participating electronically) raised objections to every effort to take testimony, and that "the essence of his objections appeared to be that he did not believe that Ian Freeman (herein 'respondent') was subject to the jurisdiction of the Department of Safety. He framed the argument in various ways, but the arguments all amounted to the same thing: Mr. Freeman has not subjected himself to any governmental authority and the Department of Safety had no right to conduct the hearing and the Keene Police Department had the burden of establishing that authority. No matter how many times the hearings examiner explained the basis for the hearing, Mr. Stevens would not accept the explanation or the ruling and continued to object to any testimony being elicited." Eventually, the hearings officer ejected Stevens from the hearing by terminating his Internet connection, and denied the motion to dismiss, finding that Bernard was a resident of New Hampshire even though he claimed that he only "occupies space" in the state, which was described as "semantic games." His motor vehicle operating privileges were therefore suspended until he applied for a New Hampshire driver's license. Ian Bernard, aka Ian Freeman, Dept. of Safety Hearing #13-8519, Report of Hearing Examiner (8/6/13).

Stevens also appears to have tried to "help" John Thornton and Crisandra Thornton when the IRS issued a summons to them and, like Marc Edwards, the Thorntons argued that the court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction because there was "no justiciable case or controversy," and that there was "no evidence proving the [United States] Constitution and [Internal Revenue] Code apply to [him]." The court dismissed the first argument by pointing out that Congress had enacted statutes giving "the IRS the legal right to summons individuals when investigating tax liability and that Mr. Thornton's refusal to comply with the Summonses violated federal law — creating a justiciable case or controversy within the district court's jurisdiction." The court said that the second argument "also fails" because Mr. Thornton is a citizen of the United States, residing in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, and is therefore "bound by the laws of the United States and its Constitution," including "Congress' power and authority to make laws to 'lay and collect Taxes.' U.S. Const. art I, § 1." The IRS summons was therefore enforced. //United States v. Crisandra J. Thornton et al.//, No. 0:13-mc-00087 (U.S.D.C. Minn. 8/1/2014).

On Wednesday, October 1, 2014, a federal court jury found James R. Back guilty of three felony counts of making and subscribing false federal income tax returns (tax years 2006 - 2008) under Internal Revenue Code section 7206(1) and four misdemeanor counts of willful failure to file federal income tax returns (tax years 2009 - 2012), under section 7203. See docket entry 89, Oct. 1, 2014, United States v. James R. Back, case no. 3:14-cr-00020-RRB, U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska. Back, who had been a follower of convicted felon Peter Hendrickson, filed a memorandum with the Court prior to his sentencing, stating that he had also been "influenced by, and in essence, was 'represented' by" Marc Stevens during the trial. Sentencing Memorandum, docket entry 103, entered Dec. 10, 2014. Back expressed dissatisfaction with Stevens, adding that Back had "relied solely on the advice of Mr. Stevens," and had not used his standby counsel (a real lawyer), in conducting his defense. Back noted that Stevens "sat through most of the trial, but flew back to Arizona prior to the jury verdict". In the memorandum, Back asserted that Stevens had used Back "as a pawn to further his own agenda with respect to the federal government." The Back memo stated: "Mr. Stevens took to the airwaves after the conviction to criticize Mr. Back’s performance and distance himself from the loss in Federal Court." On December 16, 2014, James Back was sentenced to sixteen months in federal prison, fined $10,000, burdened with a special assessment of $400, plus restitution of $113,286 to the Internal Revenue Service (for federal taxes, etc.) and $17,240.59 to the Department of Justice (for costs of prosecution). James R. Back (inmate # 17586-006) was scheduled for release on November 26, 2015, and was released a day earlier, on November 25, 2015.

United States v. James Witt, case no. 15-cv-00418, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California (Fresno Div.), is yet another proceeding to enforce an IRS summons. Witt and Stevens go in loaded for bear: they have called the IRS revenue agent to whom the case is assigned, and have gotten the revenue agent to admit (see the affidavit attached to Witt's "motion to dismiss") that the agent has no evidence that the Constitution and the United States Code apply to Witt. What more could anyone want, right? So in the motion they trot out the Stevens wisdom - no proof of jurisdiction, no standing, law doesn't apply to Witt anyway. I'll bet you don't see what's coming, folks - they lose. M-J recommends enforcing the summons, pointing out the obvious - Witt is here, the law applies to him. The U.S magistrate judge observes in passing something that we say a lot - if the Constitution and laws don't apply to Witt, there is no reason not to unceremoniously toss him into the ocean. The U.S. District Judge adopts the recommendation and directs Witt to comply with the summons, pointing out another obvious fact - the Witt/Stevens arguments are frivolous. Witt appeals to the Ninth Circuit (case no. 15-16721), filing this scholarly brief, which contains such pearls of wisdom as the trenchant observation that the magistrate judge adopted the government's position. Oh, the humanity! Meanwhile, Stevens hocks up this article and a video (which youtube removed for violating its Terms of Service) blaming the poor Assistant U.S. attorney for the courts' decisions, and posting pictures of her and her infant for good measure. The appeal in the Ninth Circuit court is pending.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 License.