Another Christian “sovereign citizen” who thinks he’s exempt from the laws because God says so is in court. This time it’s a business owner who thinks that he doesn’t have to pay taxes like everyone else. His lawyer acknowledges that he was wrong, but says he believed it so that’s all that matters.
Attorneys for an Oregon “sovereign citizen” couple hope to convince jurors their clients acted in “good faith” when they stopped paying taxes 20 years ago.
Ronald and Dorothea Joling owe $1.1 million in back taxes and associated interest in penalties after they stopped paying federal taxes in 1994, reported The Register-Guard…
Weintraub admitted to jurors that he finds those beliefs “totally wrong and unreasonable,” but he asked the jury to acquit him on tax evasion charges if they believe the 71-year-old did not willingly break the law.
The defense attorney said Joling’s “very conservative Christian” beliefs influenced his views on government and taxes, the newspaper reported.
Joling, an ordained minister and pastor of the Hope Covenant Reformed Church in Coquille, later concluded the constitutional amendment establishing federal income taxes was invalid.
That’s a common teaching among the anti-government sovereign citizens movement, and Weintraub said his client was advised by other adherents to declare himself and his wife were no longer U.S. citizens to avoid taxes and other legal requirements.
“They were wrong,” Weintraub said. “But they didn’t just make this up on their own.”
They twice tried suing the Coos County, Oregon, prosecutor after their arrest by filing nonsensical documents in federal court and state bankruptcy court.
“They wanted some kind of sweat equity deed or, in lieu of that, 27,000 ounces of pure silver,” said Paul Frasier, Coos County prosecutor. “It was really hard for me to understand what they’re asking.”
And the wife says she’s not to blame because she thinks her husband speaks for God himself:
Dorothea Joling’s attorney argues that his client is not a criminal – but rather a a devoted and obedient wife” who obeys every decision made by her husband, the newspaper reported.
“Her God speaks to her through her husband,” said attorney Emilio Bandiero.
Again, not an argument that is likely to work.