FAIRBANKS — Schaeffer Cox appeared at the Fairbanks courthouse Wednesday morning as scheduled despite saying last week he would treat another court date “like an invitation to a Tupperware party.”
However, Cox, the 26-year-old head of the Alaska Peacemakers Militia, did not address the issue of a trial date on a weapons charge as the hearing was intended to do. He instead attempted to serve criminal papers and a restraining order from a “de jure court” on District Court Judge Patrick Hammers.
He also told an Alaska State Trooper after the hearing the militia has the troopers “outmanmed, outgunned and we could probably have you all dead in one night.” But Cox added he could not see himself shooting someone who lives in the same town as him.
About a half-dozen supporters and members of the militia accompanied Cox at the hearing. Initially, militia member Ken Thesing spoke for Cox, calling himself Cox’s representative and “counsel before God.”
Hammers identified himself as a judge at Cox’ request, which was not enough to dissuade Cox in his belief that the Alaska court system is a for-profit corporation. Cox, who also refused to take off his trademark hat in the courtroom, insists the positions of the state judiciary were never actually filled and the court system is a “pre-processing company” with no jurisdiction over Alaskans.
“You’re now being treated as a criminal engaged in criminal activity and you’re being served in that manner,” Cox said.
Hammers set a trial date of Dec. 28 and a status hearing Monday, then left the courtroom. Alaska State Troopers prevented Cox and his entourage from following the judge into his chambers. Clerks refused to accept the documents for filing because some of the sheets of paper were printed on larger, legal sheets rather than the usual 8-by-11 paper.
Cox, who is facing a misdemeanor weapons misconduct charge for not immediately letting a Fairbanks police officer know he was carrying a concealed weapon last March, has in recent weeks been advocating for the concept of “sovereign citizenship.”
Cox claims he and all Americans are sovereigns, or kings and queens, and no one is required to obey laws unless not doing so would directly harm other sovereigns. Much of his claims center around the belief President Lincoln subverted the original Constitution and replaced it with a copy that incorporated the United States.
Over the summer, the Southern Poverty Law Center released a report estimating that as many 300,000 Americans consider themselves sovereign citizens. The movement has grown with the poor economy, the growth of the Internet and the election of President Obama.
Cox believes the federal government will fail soon and a de jure — or legally established — republic will be at the ready to replace it. Cox also claims to be the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff in the de jure republic.
Following the hearing, Cox, who said he is unsure if he will attend future proceedings, suggested any time he spends in jail could be used to write a book and further spread his views.
“Worst case, I go to jail for 30 days and educate all the prisoners and leave a screaming bee hive behind me,” he said.
Contact staff writer Chris Freiberg at 459-7545.