LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Jim Sanders doesn't believe law enforcement can pull over vehicles simply for speeding.
The north-central Indiana man also believes that being stopped constitutes a false emergency and that being held for more than a minute is an arrest. Sanders considers himself a "sovereign man" or a "freeman," asserting that American-born citizens answer only to independent authority and not the government, the Journal & Courier reports.
A Tippecanoe Superior Court jury found Sanders guilty last November following a jury trial that lasted about eight hours — the longest jury trial for a traffic infraction that Judge Michael Morrissey has presided over. The jury found Sanders liable for driving 65 mph in a 50 mph zone. He paid the $153 fine with a brick-sized box full of loose dollar coins, loose pennies and a few rolls of dimes to pay the fine.
"If I could've, I would've taken 16,000 pennies," said Sanders, who lives in Mulberry, about 15 miles southeast of Lafayette. "Why? Because somebody has to protest this. This was my protesting in a peaceful manner."
Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Pat Harrington declined to comment on the case because Sanders is planning to appeal.
Sovereign citizen followers rely largely on common law to justify why they're exempt from certain rules and regulations, such as speed limits.
"The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that we are sovereign people, a sovereign nation made up of kings and queens having no subjects," Sanders said, referring to a portion the U.S. Supreme Court case Chisholm v. Georgia. "Subject only to God, the Constitution and 'lawful laws.'
"The Supreme Court has made many rulings . you can't take a right and turn it into a privilege and make you get a license and charge you a fee for it," he said. "They've also made a ruling that you have the right to travel freely and unencumbered."