Deputies were prepared for the worst as they stood by in a Spokane County courtroom earlier this month during routine hearings for mostly low-level felonies.
Their focus was on one of the more benign cases – possession and distribution of marijuana.
But it wasn’t the nature of the allegations that got their attention. It was the defendant, a self-proclaimed “sovereign” who doesn’t consider himself a citizen of the United States even though he was born and raised here.
Adrian B. Shannon, 30, is among a growing number of people who question the legitimacy of federal, state and local government agencies and employ a series of legal maneuvers they believe exempt them from driver’s licenses and birth certificates, paying taxes, or even criminal charges.
“People call it a movement, but it’s individuals, literally sovereigns, that are all learning, ‘Hey we don’t have to put up with these ridiculous laws, because we are the government,’ ” Shannon said.