A look at the "sovereign citizen" movement

Byron Pitts reports on a movement the FBI now considers one of the nation's top domestic terror threats

Adask - like other sovereign "gurus" - shares his views on the Internet. With no formal organization to join, dues to pay or leaders to elect, the sovereign citizen movement exists largely online where ideology is discussed in chat rooms and on Web sites. Jerry Kane had his own Web site, and today there plenty more.

In addition to sites featuring sovereign IDs, phony vehicle registration and license tags, people can watch an endless stream of mind numbing seminars on how - with just the right paperwork - you too can beat the system.

"You can't really believe in what they peddle unless you've turned off a common sense switch. They think that if they sign documents in red crayons it takes them out of the jurisdiction of the court," J.J. MacNab explained. "They think that if they sign their name on an angle or put a thumb print in blood, I mean, I can come up with several hundred of these examples that sound ludicrous to someone outside. To the people within the movement, they make perfect sense."

But when those efforts to beat the system fail, a sovereign citizen will often seek retribution. The weapon of choice is paper. For example, when a sovereign has a run-in with the law, they might file a lien or financial claim against the personal assets of the police officer or the judge involved. It's easy to file and you don't even need a lawyer.

The sovereign never collects, but the target of the lien can have their credit ruined. The practice has been called "paper terrorism."

"I have liens against me in three states in this country for a half a billion dollars," Robert Vosper, the town justice in tiny Rosendale, N.Y., told Pitts.

Vosper thought there was something odd about a defendant named Richard Ulloa, who appeared in his court room over a misdemeanor traffic offense.

Ulloa refused to cooperate during his arraignment, so Vosper set bail. And that's when Ulloa inundated Vosper's court with paper.

"We're talking a couple of pieces of paper?" Pitts asked.

"No, no, it was 20, 30 sheets he would crank out on his computer of quasi-lookin' - like if a layperson looked at it, you would say, 'Boy, this guy's pretty good. Look at all the law in here,'" Vosper explained.

"But you looked at it and thought what?" Pitts asked.

"Gobbledygook," Vosper replied.

Eventually, Ulloa and two other sovereign citizens filed liens against Judge Vosper and other local officials in excess of $1.24 trillion.

The three men were convicted on federal mail fraud charges. But when Vosper learned one of them had contacts with associates of Jerry Kane of the West Memphis shooting, he increased security at the courthouse and took some personal measures.

"I've been a justice for 20 years. I worked 30 years in the penitentiary system. I'm scared," Vosper said.

"But you're a guy from Queens. You don't scare easy, right?" Pitts asked.

"No. Thirty years in the penitentiary, I never felt I had to carry a weapon. I've been carrying a weapon for a year and a half," he replied.

"Because of your encounter with this sovereign citizen?" Pitts asked.

"Yeah. I've slept with a gun under my mattress for the last year and a half," Vosper said.

Another reason for Vosper's concern is the marked increase in violence associated with sovereign citizens, much of it directed at police and judges.