Weapons of mass distraction: strategies for countering the paper terrorism of sovereign citizens
March-Safbom, Terri A.
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Sovereign citizens and other anti-government groups affect the judicial system through a tactic known as paper terrorism, clogging the courts with nonsensical, voluminous filings, phony lawsuits, and false liens against public officials as a form of harassment and intimidation. This behavior is sometimes a precursor to violence. As such, this thesis examines legislative measures in various jurisdictions to thwart paper terrorism, particularly directed against the courts and judicial officials. An exploration of the origins of the movement’s history, tactics, violent tendencies, and ideology provides an understanding of the mindset behind this behavior, which, in turn, informs recommendations for prevention and deterrence. Comparative analysis of available policy solutions endeavors to validate this hypothesis. The analysis targets five states for further study. A survey of court professionals provides insight into the depth of the problem and effectiveness of solutions. The findings of this project suggest that no single solution is completely effective; still, this research concludes with recommendations for multiple levels of legislation and administrative procedures.