2011-08-02 Sovereign citizen, 48, out of jail; Judge releases man on $100K bond following court disruption" by Jay Jones from "Southern Community Newspapers Inc."
CONYERS — Rockdale County Superior Court Judge David Irwin reinstated bond Tuesday for a defendant in a sovereign citizen case after the man spent two weeks in jail for disrupting court proceedings.
Akeem Kwame, 48, of Atlanta, was released again on his original $100,000 bond after Tuesday’s court hearing. Kwame, who is representing himself, promised Irwin that he will hire a lawyer and be ready for trial in September on mortgage and identity fraud charges.
Irwin said Kwame, also known as Gregory Ross, had no incidents in the time he had been out on bond before the July 18 trial calendar call and that he had been present at all court hearings in his case.
Kwame was taken to jail on a contempt of court order for “repeated diatribes directed at the court,” according to court papers filed by Irwin. The outburst occurred when Kwame told the court he would not use an attorney and would represent himself in court.
Kwame is facing mortgage fraud and identity theft charges involving a house in the Lions Gate subdivision. Kwame is accused of filing court papers and liens claiming ownership of the house. He had moved into the house when the homeowner called the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office who arrested him in August 2010.
Assistant District Attorney Paul Stalcup argued against releasing Kwame and called him a “paper terrorist” and said that the accusations against him are “textbook examples” of sovereign citizens.
“The paper filings that Mr. Kwame has done with both the Clerk of Courts and the court are absolutely consistent with what the FBI refers to as paper terrorism,” Stalcup said.
Stalcup also listed claims allegedly made by Kwame during the course of his court case. One claim was that an investigator owes Kwame $3.35 million for illegally using his name in the arrest warrants. Stalcup explained that Kwame believes his name is under copyright protection and no one can use his name without his permission.
“Basically, the state will characterize his pleading as wacky doodle, gobbledygook, for lack of a better term,” Stalcup said. He argued that Kwame posed a threat physically and financially to the community.
In his response to Stalcup, Kwame denied he was a sovereign citizen.
“I am not a paper terrorist, as a fact. I am a man of peace. As you know, I have been on bond for over a year with no incidents; never made a threat to anyone, will not harm anyone because I am a man of peace,” Kwame said. “Secondly, his hearsay testimony is pure perception or presumption and he’s allowed to have whatever thought he wants to enter his mind. It has nothing to do with who I am. I am not a sovereign citizen.”
Irwin drove his point home in asking Kwame whether he should be released.
“The question becomes this. If I release you on a new bond or reinstate your bond, how can I be assured that we are going to go forward and try this case and either you represent yourself appropriately or get a lawyer,” Irwin said. “I’m not going to keep going through the games, as what I consider what we’ve been through up to this point. Pure games.”
Kwame apologized for wasting the court’s time and promised to hire a lawyer.
2011-07-18 "'Sovereign citizen' arrested in court; Bond revoked" by Michelle Kim
A man facing mortgage fraud charges and claiming exemption from US laws as part of the “Moor nation,” an offshoot of the sovereign citizen movement, was arrested for contempt of court in Rockdale County Superior Court Monday.
Akeem Kwame, also called Gregory Ross, 48, of Covington was taken into custody after heated, round-about exchanges with Judge David Irwin. Irwin revoked Kwame’s bond and put him back in Rockdale County jail until his next court date.
Kwame faces four counts of mortgage fraud and one count of false statement for moving into a Conyers home that did not belong to him in May 2010, changing the locks, attempting to modify the loan on the house, and filing a claim to the property.
During his appearance on Monday, Kwame, who arrived a few minutes after court started dressed in a suit, was repeatedly asked by Judge David Irwin whether he was ready for trial.
“It’s a simple question. Are you ready for trial, yes or no? It’s a yes or no. After that you may explain,” said Irwin.
Kwame replied, “Judge, I conditionally accept your offer to continue this once I am presented with the documentation so I can inspect any accusatory original instruments for my inspection.”
Later, during a second session after he was placed in custody, Kwame also claimed he had filed documents and asked for Irwin’s help in answering questions. Irwin told him he was not his attorney and had previously advised him during the arraignment hearing and calendar motions to get an attorney or have a public defender appointed to him if he could not afford one.
Irwin said, “As far as the Moor Nations, or Martian law, we’re going to go on Georgia law. As based upon the Georgia statutes, as done by the Georgia legislature, you have a right to a trial on those issues. That’s it… I have given you opportunities, I have given you offers, and you have refused.”
“You’re placing the occupant of the executor office of the Akeem Kwame in custody? Is that what you’re saying?”
“I’m going to place Akeem Kwame and anybody else that doesn’t respond. You and the grand Poopah of the Moor Nation if that happens to be you,” said Irwin.
During the exchange, Irwin also asked Kwame if was aware of his Constitutional right to a lawyer.
“I waive those Constitutional rights because that Constitution is not in my jurisdiction,” said Kwame. “I am an American foreign national. I am not an American citizen.”
According to Rockdale County Sheriff's Office reports, neighbors noticed Kwame had moved into the house that was being sold to a Stone Mountain couple. Kwame had reportedly contacted the homeowner saying he was a private banker and had sent her a quit claim deed, which she did not sign. Someone also contacted the mortgage company, posing as the homeowner's husband, and did a loan modification.
Documents that Kwame filed with his case stated "In consideration of the fact that no lawful money of account exists in circulation.... I underwrite with my private exemption... in the amount of $1,000,000 for any and all obigations." He also cited the US Constitution, described a 2004 Porche Cayenne, iPod, CDs and baseball bat that were siezed, and described himself as "An Aboriginal, Indigenous, Asiatic, Nine Ether, Moor Created by The Most High God, of all worlds."
Adherents to sovereign citizen-type philosophies claim immunity from local, state, and national laws, particularly with driving regulations and taxes. The Southern Poverty Law Center estimates about 300,000 people in the United States claim to be part of the movement.
In a previous report, the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office described one typical activity of the movement as placing liens or encumberances on property by filing frivolous paperwork.