Mecklenburg County defendants’ use of the “Moorish Nation” defense is interfering with District Attorney Andrew Murray’s new policy of taking more cases to trial. By invoking this “defense,” defendants force assistant district attorneys to deal with frivolous motions that delay the case. However, the real losers with this defense are those who try to use it, who, according to Charlotte criminal defense attorney Brad Smith, is one in which people are duped into believing it will work. Even the Moorish Nation’s national chapter has denounced the defense stating that their organization “is for peace and not destruction” and its members are “part and parcel of this government.”
The details of this strategy vary throughout the nation, but the underlying theory is that a defendant is of Moorish decent, and is not subject to the laws of the United States. According to the Mecklenburg County version, the defendant takes on a new name, and declares that he cannot be prosecuted for any crimes which occurred under his prior name. Another version which defendant Frederick R. James attempted in federal court submitted a “security agreement” for the use of his name which declared that anyone who used his name would have to pay him the sum of $500,000. He refused to submit to the Court’s authority without the judge, the prosecutor, and all court personnel submitting to this agreement. And at the end of trial, he submitted a bill to the judge for $151 million for the use of his name throughout the court proceedings.
While the fact that these defendants are attempting to circumvent the justice system by invoking a centuries old treaty may seem laughable, there are serious consequences to this theory. People have paid good money for this so called “advice” and have subsequently refused representation and proceeded on their own behalf believing that this defense will save them. Unfortunately, as many defendants have found out after-the-fact, this defense is nothing more than a scam and there are no reported cases of this theory succeeding at any level of the justice system.
A prime exampleof the harm this defense causes is Damien Wilson , a 24-year old who rejected repeated attempts from the Court to appoint him an attorney. Throughout his trial, in which he represented himself, he insisted that the treaty gave him immunity from US law. Only when he was convicted and sentenced to 11 years did he realize the error of his ways. He has now hired an attorney to request a new trial.
If this “defense” sounds confusing to you, it is, but it is also indicative of how confusing and intimidating the court system can be to an outsider. This should not be entered into without proper counsel on your side. For Charlotte criminal defense attorney Brad Smith, these types of matters are handled on a daily basis and he is well trained on how to peel back the layers to find the “truth” despite what might be present on the surface. Please contact Mr. Smith for a free consultation by calling 704-370-2828.