Keith Johnson is a journalist who writes for the American Free Press. He recently asked to interview me about a recent court “victory” by a Montana “mountain man” named Ernie Wayne Tertelgte. You can see an 8-minute video of Mr. Tertelgte’s courtroom conflict at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LwR0c-CE5g.
Because I only use Skype, Keith Johnson couldn’t call me. Therefore, he sent an email to me that posed some questions concerning the Tertelgte courtroom strategy.
Here’s his email and then my response:
Thank you for your timely reply. I’ve been an admirer of your work for many years. I regularly read your blog and have enjoyed your radio shows and guest appearances on the Alex Jones Show and Cost to Coast.
I’ve written several pieces for Alex Jones’ Infowars before being hired as a writer for American Free Press, where I contribute one article per week.
I would love to speak with you in person. However, I am at a disadvantage with Skype. Because I live in a rural part of Tennessee, I am obliged to rely on Hughes Net satellite for my Internet connection. The nature of my satellite link causes a delay that makes it difficult and–in most cases–impossible to carry on a conversation. As a matter of fact, I had no-service for the most part of Saturday, which is why I’ve been unable to write until now.
If it isn’t too much of trouble, can I submit my questions in writing?
First, let me set the stage…
I’m currently working on an article about a man in Montana who was recently arrested for fishing without a license and resisting arrest. His name is Ernie Wayne Tertelgte and he has become an Internet sensation because of his defiance in court.
During a couple of courtroom appearances, Tertelgte argued that they had no authority to charge him, citing “natural law.”
“I am a living man protected by natural law and I have the right to forage for food when I am hungry… You are trying to create a fictitious, fraudulent action,” Tertelgte told Three Forks City Judge Wanda Drusch.
According to the Daily Sheeple, “A heated exchange ensued, and the judge told Tertelgte to shut up. Then he yelled: ‘Do not tell me to shut up! I am the living, natural man, and my voice will be heard!’ Then Tertelgte pointed at the flag and said: ‘That is the Jolly Roger, that thing you call the American flag with the golf fringe around it is the Jolly Roger, and you are acting as one of its privateers!'”
Here’s more of what he said, according to Raw Story:
“KAJ-TV reported that Ernie Wayne Tertelgte was removed from the trial before the jury was selected, amid his insistence that Judge Wanda Drusch had no authority to try him. ‘Why — please, give me an honorable answer — is a British-recognized esquire asking questions in an American courtroom?” Tertelgte asked Drusch. He then refused to follow bailiffs’ instructions to stand up, saying, “If I stand up, I give you recognition,” and saying he was “constrained by the United States Constitution of 1789.'”
Tertelgte also said that Roosevelt created a legal fiction by forcing Americans to register with their birth certificates and that thus was accomplished through the signing of the War Powers Act and the Trading With The Enemies Act and that we fly the War Flag so the Corporation can take property thru Letters of Marque. Tertelgte says the courts are corporations as evidenced by ALL CAPS. He also explains what your all capital letter name means to the government and courts. The way your name is written indicates your status under Roman, and thus Corporate Maritime Law.
My questions are as follows:
1.What does Tertelgte mean by “natural law” and does this give him the right to forage for food.
2.What does Tertelgte mean when he says he’s “the living man.”
3.Did Roosevelt play a part in transforming the courts as Tertelgte describes.
4.Have our constitutional courts been replaced with administrative or Admiralty Law courts.
5.Are the courts corporations
6.What does he mean by calling the judge a British Esquire
7.What is the flag he’s referring to as the Jolly Roger
8.Did the judge violate Tertelgte’s rights by not allowing him to call witnesses
9.Does Tertelgte make valid points or has he erred in some way
• Your answer to any or all of the above questions would be greatly appreciated. If you prefer to give a brief summary, that would be just as great.
I will include all your answers in my article. This will be printed in our newspaper on Friday. Next Wednesday, it will appear on the Internet and I will send you a link. I’ll also point our readers to your website.
Thank you very much for allowing me to consult with you on this. I could think of no one better qualified to comment on this.
God bless you and yours during this Christmas season.
American Free Press
My answers follow:
I’ve only seen the original Tertelgte video. There may be other events since then that are relevant but so far unknown to me. My answers are based only on that first video.
Tertelgte’s original “victory” was superficially impressive but not as instructive and reliable as many suppose because there was a psychological conflict as well as a legal argument.
Like anyone else who’s willing to yell at a judge, Tertelgte is obviously a very strong personality. The judge was a little old lady used to having everyone say “Yes, mam” whenever she spoke. It’s hard to be sure whether Tertelgte 1) overpowered the judge with the force of his legal arguments; 2) if he overpowered the little ol’ lady with the force of his personality; or 3) some measure of both law and personality won the day for Tertelgte.
Even Tertelgte seemed to have understood that he didn’t necessarily “win” because of his legal arguments. When the hearing was over and everyone else was outside congratulating themselves on the victory, Tertelgte insisted in no uncertain terms that they get in the car and get away from the court room as quickly as possible. His haste to “get out of dodge” suggests that he feared that the judge might regain her composure and authority and order to cops to step outside, grab Tertelgte, and teach him the power of “little old ladies”.
So, we’re left with a victory, but we’re also left to wonder if Tertelgte’s notions on law are, by themselves, as powerful and perfect as some suppose.
• Nevertheless, although I have some doubts about the purity or completeness of Tertelgte’s argument, I believe he’s discovered something powerful by basing his defense on “natural law”. I’ve never heard of anyone else making a “natural law” argument. For me, hearing Tertelgte do so was a revelation which I intend to study as time permits and apply should circumstances require.
Because I have a strong suspicion that most of the problems we have with government can be traced to the pretext of a “national emergency” that’s allegedly been in force since the banking emergency was first declared under the New Deal in or about A.D. 1934. I’m told by people who might know what they’re talking about that that “emergency” was supposed to end after two years, but that Congress found it convenient to extend the emergency for another two years, and then another two, and then another, etc.—until, here we are, 80 years later, still living in a seemingly perpetual “state of emergency”.
• The problem with the doctrine of “emergency” is that it suspends all man-made laws or at least reduces those man-made laws to the status of something like “recommendations” rather than capital-L, mandatory “Law”.
For example, suppose a cop saw me driving 50 miles per hour, in reverse, going the wrong way on a one-way street in a school zone. Would the cop want to issue me a slew of tickets? Of course.
But suppose someone was shooting at me, there were bullet holes in my car, and I was driving in reverse in the school zone to avoid being shot. Would I still be ticketed? Probably not. In a “state of emergency,” the Laws are suspended and legal questions becomes one of “what is reasonable” under those emergency circumstances. Is it “reasonable” to drive 50 MPH in reverse in a school zone? It is, if someone is shooting at you and you’re trying to save your own life.
Government likes “emergency” because it suspends all man-made laws and/or makes man-made laws subject to “reason”–and government (and/or the rich and powerful best able to hire attorneys) are the ones best able to decide (or argue) what is reasonable. The government and the rich are freed by the pretext of emergency from absolute obedience to the “Law”. Those who are not in government, or who are not rich and powerful and therefore less able to “reason” can be found guilty of just about anything the government or wealthy plaintiffs allege.
The previous analysis is conjectural. I can’t say that analysis is absolutely true, but I have no doubt that our current government relies on the pretext of “emergency” to increase its powers and diminished our rights.
• What’s that got to do with Tertelgte?
Maybe nothing. Maybe a lot.
After seeing Tertelgte’s “natual law” victory, it occurred to me that the strength of “natural law” (which includes, but is not limited to, the laws of physics, chemistry, biology, etc.) may be that natural law is not suspended by the pretext of emergency. I.e., if someone is shooting at me and I’m driving 50 MPH in a school zone, the traffic laws may be suspended by my emergency, but the laws of physics and biology are not suspended. If a bullet of a certain mass and velocity hits me, I might die.
Government may normally rely on the pretext of a national emergency to suspend man-made laws like traffic laws or even the Constitution to justify its increasingly tyrannical powers.
However, government can’t rely on the pretext of emergency to suspend “natural laws” because, according the Declaration of Independence, this nation was built on the basis of the “laws of Nature and nature’s God“. That phrase clearly implies that the “laws of Nature” are God’s laws. If so, it is “unreasonable” to suppose that God’s laws can ever be suspended–even a declaration by the almighty Congress of the existence of a “national emergency”. Politicians may use the pretext of an “emergency” to suspend the people’s law (the Constitution) but they can’t use that same pretext to suspend God’s “natural law”.
Tertelgte’s video suggests that by claiming to act under “natural law,” Tertegte claimed an authority that could not be suspended under the pretext of emergency. As such, his claim of “natural law” may have trumped the court’s reliance on “emergency powers”.
We can’t know if that hypothesis is true unless the “little old lady judge” tells us, Yes–that’s how she analyzed Tertelgte’s argument. I don’t even know for a fact that Tertelgte agrees with my analysis. Nevertheless, that’s my analysis and I’m stickin’ to it–at least for now.
1. What does Tertelgte mean by “natural law” and does this give him the right to forage for food?
I believe Tertelgte was referring to the “laws of Nature and of nature’s God” found in the “Declaration of Independence.” How “natural law” relates to “foraging” is unknown to me but may be a function of the first law of nature: to survive. If I need food to survive, what law can reasonably prevent me from eating food (fish) that are not owned by another?
It’s not impossible that the doctrine of “emergency” is, itself, based on the “laws of Nature and of nature’s God”. The “Declaration of Independence” begins with “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another . . . .”
What created that “necessity” for the dissolution of preexisting political bands if not something like an “emergency“? The evidence of that emergency was seen in the Declaration’s list of grievances against King George. The ultimate rationale for the American Revolution was to protect and secure the God-given, “unalienable Rights” first declared in the Declaration. Much of the rationale for the American Revolution was implicitly traced to God’s laws and their violation by King George.
It might be argued that the American Revolution was precipitated by a “colonial emergency” what was created by King George’s failure and/or refusal to obey the “laws of nature and of nature’s God.”
2.What does Tertelgte mean when he says he’s “the living man”?
I assume Tertelgte means that he is not a “decedent” or “legal fiction”. As such, he has access to rights from God which are not afforded to dead persons, artificial entities and/or legal fictions.
3.Did Roosevelt play a part in transforming the courts as Tertelgte describes?
I think so. As I explained previously, the doctrine of a perpetual “national emergency” reportedly began with Franklin D. Roosevelt in the New Deal during the 1930s.
4.Have our constitutional courts been replaced with administrative or Admiralty Law courts?
Kind of. But it’s not only true that our constitutional courts have been supplanted by administrative (and perhaps admiralty) courts, it’s also true that we have been “replaced” in the sense that government now presumes us all to be something other than the “people” and living men.
I know we are deemed by a multitude of laws to be “animals”. I presume there are a host of other laws that deem us to be decedents, debtors, and subjects. All of these presumptions degrade us from the status of “men made in God’s image” who are entitled by that status to access “constitutional courts”. As something less than “men made in God’s image,” we can be subjected to administrative rather than constitutional courts.
5.Are the courts corporations?
In at least some instances, Yes. A couple of years ago, a number of people (including me) investigated Manta.com (which lists tens of millions of US corporations based on information provided by Dunn & Bradstreet) and found a number of governmental entities–including individual IRS offices and individual courts–that were listed as corporations.
6.What does he mean by calling the judge a British Esquire?
There’s a theory that the modern US court system is based on the British court system, that licensed US attorneys are “esquires”; that “esquire” is a “title of nobility” that’s expressly forbidden by The Constitution of the United States. There may be some validity in the claim that “esquire” is a (forbidden) “title of nobility”. However, I doubt that there’s much of a connection between the British court system and our own.
7.What is the flag he’s referring to as the Jolly Roger?
If you read up on flags, you’ll find out that the gold fringe around the outer edges of the American flag is not merely a “decoration” but, in fact, signals that the authority, jurisdiction and powers associated with a gold-fringed, American flag are quite different from those associated with a “true” American flag which is “red, white and blue” only–and has no gold fringe.
The gold-fringed American flag is typically associated with the military and/or the President. If you voluntary enter a court room flying a gold-fringed flag, you are presumed to have voluntarily waived your standing to claim all of the rights that might be associated with a “true” American flag that has no such fringe.
Tertelgte’s reference to “Jolly Roger” is metaphorical but still signals that Tertelgte did not enter the court voluntarily and did not voluntarily waive his God-given, unalienable Rights to transact business in the administrative/admiralty court.
Tertelgte’s reference to “Jolly Roger” is probably intended to imply that he does not consent to be subject to an admiralty court.
8.Did the judge violate Tertelgte’s rights by not allowing him to call witnesses?
In the video I’ve seen, I didn’t notice that Tertelgte asked to call witnesses. I didn’t notice the judge refuse his request. Without more facts, I can’t answer your question.
However, if the judge completely refused to allow Tertelgte to call any witnesses, ever, in the trespass case, I’d say it was a violation of Tertelgte’s rights. On the other hand, if the judge merely refused to allow Tertelgte to call witnesses at a particular point in the hearing where it was not yet procedurally correct to call witnesses–but intended to allow him to call witnesses later–then I doubt that Tertelgte suffered a violation of his rights.
9.Does Tertelgte make valid points or has he erred in some way?
It’s likely that, like all of us, Tertelgte did both. Some valid (perhaps powerful) points. Some errors. None of us are perfect. None of our legal arguments are perfect. But if you recall the statue of “Justice,” she’s holding a scale to weigh the good against the bad, the valid against the erroneous. You don’t have to be absolutely error-free in your defense to win. You need only present a defense that has more valid points and less errors than your accuser. “On balance,” if you’re more right than wrong, you’ll probably win. If you’re more wrong than right, you’ll probably lose.
I hope this was helpful.