FAIRBANKS — A defiant Schaeffer Cox, facing a misdemeanor weapons charge, told a judge Friday he will not attend another court hearing until the court system explains its authority over him.
Cox, the 26-year-old head of the Alaska Peacemakers Militia, spoke from the gallery surrounded by about 30 supporters as he invoked the controversial concept of sovereign citizenship.
“Based on the evidence, I deny the Alaska Court System is the real judiciary,” said Cox, who is representing himself in the case. “It’s a business.”
Cox cited an Alaska business license for the court system, an income tax number and a listing for the court system on the Dun & Bradstreet business report website as just a few pieces of evidence for his claims that the court system is a corporation.
Following the hearing, Deputy Assistant District Attorney Scott Mattern told Cox the court system may engage in some business dealings, but that does not take away from the state’s sovereign immunity.
After Cox held a meeting earlier this month at the Carlson Center to present his evidence, area court administrator Ron Woods said he was unsure of much of what Cox is talking about, but the court system is a separate branch of government and not for-profit as Cox claims.
Cox was arrested in March after a call from his Liberty Bell network, which sends out mass notifications when someone believes their rights are being violated, brought him to the scene of a search at an Eighth Avenue home.
Police said they were responding to a 911 hang-up, and when Cox entered the home he did not immediately tell FPD Sgt Gary Yamamoto he was in possession of a Ruger .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol.
State law requires those with a concealed firearm on them to immediately notify a law enforcement officer when contact is made.
Cox claims he and all Americans are sovereigns, or kings and queens, and no one is required to obey laws unless they directly harm other sovereigns. Much of his claims center around the belief President Abraham Lincoln subverted the original Constitution and replaced it with a copy that incorporated the United States.
Furthermore, Cox said birth certificates create legal entities separate from sovereigns.
Much of Cox’s proof in this belief has centered on the use of capitalization in court documents and whether or not the word “the” precedes the term of “State of Alaska” in official documents, differences largely seen as inconsequential among the legal community.
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 Barack Obama.
Many subscribers to the theory use it as a way to avoid paying taxes.
Cox took up almost all of the time during Friday’s 20-minute hearing discussing the concept of sovereign citizenship but some times made vaguely threatening comments about the court system and the federal government.
“There’s a lot of people that would just as soon come and kill you in the night than come in your courtroom and argue during the day,” Cox told District Court Judge Jane Kauvar.
He made mention of “soulless federal assassins” that have come to Fairbanks to provoke a violent incident.
However, Cox said he is seeking a “peaceful coexistence” with the court system as long as they stay out of his business. He said “trigger happy” members of the militia looking for a fight need to be removed from its ranks.
“I am a sovereign, a man of peace, but capable of war,” he said.
Following his speech, Kauvar told Cox he is still presumed innocent and his next court date is set for Wednesday morning.
“If I get an invitation, I’m going to treat it like an invitation to a Tupperware party,” he said. “I will appear when the court identifies who they are.”
Contact staff writer Chris Freiberg at 459-7545.