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Doreen's Allocution And A Call To Action

What Doreen Said To The Court

This is a must read, all the way through the call to action, if you want to have any hope of preserving your rights

I have to begin by acknowledging Melissa Siskind's powerful effort to make me look like a terrible person. She is very skilled.

But I believe Ms. Siskind's studied hostility is really just a tactic. I think she is implementing the concept that “the best defense is a strong offense”. Ms. Siskind wants to drive from everyone's mind the fact that the verdict in my trial was achieved, in part, by her astonishing lie to my jury that early government efforts against my husband were just an audit.

With that lie my jury was misled about the real background of events leading up to the production of the unlawful orders I resisted. With that lie my jury was given false cause to doubt my truthfulness. With that lie my jury was given false cause to doubt the legitimacy of my exhibits; and with that lie my jury was given false cause to doubt one of the bases presented for my good-faith conclusion that I was not under a duty in regard to these orders, which rested on an accurate picture of the sequence of events of which the issuance of these orders was a part.

Under the influence of Siskind's lie I was declared guilty. I have to say “declared” rather than “found”, because due to a jury instruction Siskind persuaded the court to deliver, it cannot be known that a single juror found I had actually committed one or the other acts with which I am charged, and neither charged act can be taken as found by a unanimous jury. It seems that engineering verdicts against innocent women is another skill honed by Ms. Siskind.

Now Ms. Siskind hopes to continue her streak. She means to keep everyone, and especially you, Judge Roberts, from remembering her earlier lie, and from thinking about the fact that whatever you do today rests on the legitimacy of a verdict issued under the influence of that lie.

Siskind hopes to distract you with more bluster, misdirection and additional falsehoods into disregarding the facts and acting instead on her primitive, hind-brain proposition that it doesn't matter that the government couldn't honestly prove me guilty as charged, because I'm a terrible villain anyway, and ought to be locked up on general principle.

The fact is Melissa Siskind doesn't know me at all, and I am not the bad person she would like you to imagine. I am just an American woman who believes she has a right to control the content of her own expressions, and a right to defend her own interests in any legal contest-- even a tax-related legal contest.

I want to explain what I believe is the legal dynamic of such contests, and what has been done to me that has led us to this day.

Our legal system here in America is designed to protect everyone's right to make claims, rebut allegations and defend herself against the claims of others. One of the key ways in which these paramount goals are accomplished is by providing that no one can be told what she must say in a legal contest.

I get to say my piece, and the other side gets to says its piece. Each of us get to say, without hindrance, intimidation or interference, whatever we think serves to support our claims. If what is said by the two sides is in disagreement, an appropriate and duly-authorized agency or tribunal makes a determination as to the outcome in accordance with the relevant provisions of law.

No one, not even the government, gets to pre-emptively evade the contest or control its outcome by taking, or being given, control of what its opponents say-- even if it really thinks what is being said or might be said is wrong. Both sides must rely on the strength of their own arguments to overcome those of their opponent, and are prohibited from using strong-arm tactics against each other. In fact, efforts to secure favorable testimony in such a contest by threats or coercion are crimes. Both sides must rely on the threat of a prosecution for perjury as their protection against deceit.

That's how it works, that's the only way it can work, and that's the only way it is allowed to work under our law here in America, where a declared purpose of bringing the federal government into existence in the first place is identified in the preamble to the United States Constitution as being to “establish justice”. The First Amendment to that Constitution says no one can be told what to say, and the Fifth Amendment guarantees everyone the right to due process.

In keeping with these principles, prescriptions and proscriptions, not only is no organ of government allowed to order any person to relinquish her own claims, or to agree with another's, but none has any plausible reason to do so-- at least, no reason that is honest.

For me, though, eight years ago a judge issued just such orders, at the request of a government agency wanting to make claims to my property. I was ordered by this judge to repudiate my own freely-made testimony relevant to a couple of government claims and to create sworn declarations of belief that would instead validate the government's competing claims. In another order I was told to refrain from disputing any future government claims.

The absurd pretext used to justify these plainly illegal orders was that I was only being told to say what was “correct”, as though my rights to control my own expressions and advocate for my own interests evaporate whenever some government official decides my expressions and advocacy are “incorrect”. This is ridiculous, and it is wrong-- my rights are not subject to the whims of officialdom in this fashion.

Further, I was NOT simply being told to say what Nancy Edmunds decided was “correct”-- I was being ordered to say that I BELIEVED what Nancy Edmunds decided was “correct”-- or really, what my government opponent simply TOLD Nancy Edmunds was “correct”, even though no government official, from the Secretary of the Treasury to a lowly IRS worker, had been willing to sign off on the government's assertions under any risk of penalty for being untruthful. Robert Metcalfe, the DOJ attorney who asked Nancy Edmunds to make me say I believed these assertions, had to resort to an unsigned, self-declaredly “informal” IRS examination report as his pretended evidence that the government itself believed this nonsense.

Nonetheless, without even so much as a single hearing of any kind, Nancy Edmunds ordered me to say I believed what she herself had no reason whatever to believe to be true, at the government's mere request, and over my objections and formal, sworn dispute of all its allegations of fact and law. As requested, Edmunds ordered me to say I believe that my earnings are of a taxable sort, suitable to declare to be “income” as that term is meant in tax law.

But I don't believe this. In fact, I know full well that it isn't true, just as the government knows full well that it isn't true, as is unambiguously proven by no government official being willing to declare it as a personal belief over a signature.

That a government official CAN make such a declaration is why government control of speech such as I am accused of criminally resisting is fundamentally and grotesquely wrong as a matter of law and principle. It is also why there is NEVER, EVER a legitimate government interest or necessity requiring or justifying this ugly mechanism for its fulfillment. It's this simple: If the government believes something is correct and needs to be said, it can have one of its own officials say it. In regard to the matters involved in this case, there is actually a statute that says not only that such a declaration MUST be made by a government official, but that when one is, that declaration is good and sufficient for all legal purposes.

If what that official swears to is then deemed to be correct by the proper authority-- say, Judge Nancy Edmunds, perhaps-- and what I say is deemed to be incorrect, then that decision can be enforced without any declaration of agreement or belief being needed from me.

Thus, the orders sought by the government and issued by Edmunds are neither necessary nor proper, both of which standards must be met, as specified at 26 USC 7402(a), for her to be authorized under law to issue any kind of injunction. Even if the orders Edmunds issued to me were not specifically prohibited by the First and Fifth Amendments of the Constitution, they would still not be within her lawful power to make.

Of course, beyond the creepily sick proposition that I was just being ordered to say what was “correct”-- however fraudulently and unlawfully-- there was another pretext given by the government in asking Judge Edmunds' to issue her orders. This was the even more creepy and downright scary argument that my being forced to say I believe what the government wanted would discourage other Americans from making claims of their own which the government dislikes.

Needless to say, the government self-servingly characterizes such disfavored claims as "false". Part of its elaborate pretense in the lawsuit brought in Edmunds' court is the phony assertion that my husband's book Cracking the Code argues that only federal, state and local government workers are subject to the income tax, and the equally phony assertion that claims like mine on my freely-made tax returns are based on this falsely ascribed and patently false and frivolous notion.

But you know what? I characterize the government's assertions as "false", just as do the many thousands of other Americans making claims the government hopes to chill by attacking me-- and unlike Nancy Edmunds, we've actually read the book. Sorting out who is right in each case is why we have a legal system, and keeping that legal system real and legitimate is why our First and Fifth Amendment proscriptions and prescriptions prohibit efforts by the government to evade its requirements by ordering people to say what it wants to hear through the means of cooperative judges, or attempting to chill inconvenient speech in advance by means of such orders.

Here is how the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals put this in Beaty v. United States, 937 F.2d 288:

“A central tenet of our republic--a characteristic that separates us from totalitarian regimes throughout the world--is that the government and private citizens resolve disputes on an equal playing field in the courts. When citizens face the government in the federal courts, the job of the judge is to apply the law, not to bolster the government’s case.”

Everyone in this room knows this. Everyone in this room knows the government's call to Nancy Edmunds to issue her orders to me was wrong and lawless-- as are the orders themselves-- and that the pretense of a legitimate government interest in chilling the free expression of other Americans was even more broadly and darkly criminal. It does not speak well of Nancy Edmunds that she didn't refer Mr. Metcalfe for prosecution upon being presented with his demand and its revealing justifications.

Here today, those speaking for the government are making the same demented, un-American and Constitution-defying argument. They advise you to sentence me harshly as a “deterrent”. But a deterrent to what?

It can't be as a deterrent to resisting government-requested orders from a court dictating what they must say they believe to be true and correct. No such orders have ever been issued to anyone in American history before this was done to my husband and me, and none have never been issued since. No surprise-- orders of this sort are ILLEGAL.

Therefore, what the government must mean is to deter other Americans from testifying freely and honestly on their own tax forms, or anywhere else they are asked or expected to say what they believe to be true and correct, or have a need to make claims on their own behalf or assert and defend their interests in a legal contest. Thus, the government's call for a harsh sentence is a call upon this court to use a sentence upon me to commit a crime against the speech, conscience and due process rights of other Americans-- indeed, all Americans.

I note that whoever spoke for the government in its response to my sentencing memorandum also made much of the fact that one of my supporters started a petition on my behalf a few weeks ago. The government says those who have signed the petition are examples of Americans needing to be deterred by the sentence you issue today. I suppose the government attorneys here also feel that the good people behind me [and filling the hallway outside] need to be deterred from exercising THEIR rights, too.

Frankly, those who have signed that petition, and those here today, are examples of the millions of Americans who need to be reassured by what you do today that their rights will be respected by public officials, and that their courts recognize that it is efforts to chill their exercise of speech and due process rights that are criminal, not resistance to such efforts.

Here is what the person who started that petition has as its “mission statement”:

 “We, the undersigned citizens of America, are concerned for the security of our rights, seeing them threatened by the attack on those of our sister, Doreen Hendrickson. Doreen is plainly being punished by the United States for exercising her rights of speech and conscience, and her right to due process of law in any legal contest between herself and the United States, whether that contest concerns tax matters or otherwise.

We call upon our public servant, federal district court judge Victoria Roberts, to abandon this violation of Doreen's rights and to exercise her authority under the federal rules to arrest this judgment, dismiss the indictment under which Doreen was tried, or otherwise vacate and dispose of the lawless charges and proceedings against Doreen.”

I don't know anything about whether the remedies being asked for in those words are available at this point, but for the record, I echo them now.

I also ask you to understand that all of the petition signers, and all the folks here today, and all the many tens of thousands who are following this case and will continue to do so are Americans who, in their own study of the law, have concluded that what Judge Edmunds did is wrong and unlawful, and that what I have done is not.

All these good Americans are not alone, either. They are joined by others who may not be following this case today, but have already staked out their positions very plainly.

Let's start with the real heavyweight experts:

“Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech”; and “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.”

Now here's the United States Supreme Court in Armstrong v. Manzo, 380 U.S. 545, explaining the meaning of “due process of law”:

“A fundamental requirement of due process is “the opportunity to be heard.” Grannis v. Ordean, 234 U.S. 385, 394. It is an opportunity which must be granted at a meaningful time and in a meaningful manner.”

In Flaim v. Med. Coll. of Ohio, 418 F.3d 629, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals says:

“Notice and an opportunity to be heard remain the most basic requirements of due process.”

“Opportunity to be heard” means an opportunity to be heard saying what I want said, not what my government opponent wants to hear said. Plainly, an injunction telling me I will be punished for saying things the government doesn't want said on a tax form by which I testify and make my claims in a contest over who gets ownership of my money is a violation of my rights, and so is an injunction telling me that I must say what my opponent wishes said on such forms.

Here is the Supreme Court on the freedom of expression issue in Agency for Int’l Development v. Alliance for Open Society Int’l, Inc., 133 S. Ct. 2321, a case decided just a month before I was arrested for exercising my speech rights:

“It is, however, a basic First Amendment principle that “freedom of speech prohibits the government from telling people what they must say.” ... “At the heart of the First Amendment lies the principle that each person should decide for himself or herself the ideas and beliefs deserving of expression, consideration, and adherence.” ... “The government may not . . . compel the endorsement of ideas that it approves.”.

“[W]e cannot improve upon what Justice Jackson wrote for the Court 70 years ago: “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.””

And here is how the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals puts it in Newsom v. Morris, 888 F.2d 371:

“[E]ven minimal infringement upon First Amendment values constitutes irreparable injury...”


“[D]irect retaliation by the state for having exercised First Amendment freedoms in the past is particularly proscribed by the First Amendment.”

Doesn't that last line bring things right home? What is happening here today is the government asking you, Judge Roberts, to retaliate against me for exercising my First Amendment freedoms by expressing myself as I felt was right and true in the course of exercising my Fifth Amendment right to due process. That is exactly the retaliation that the Sixth Circuit says is “particularly proscribed by the First Amendment”.

So, am I missing something? Didn't every government official in this room-- including these government attorneys who are urging you to engage in this retaliation, and to “do it hard” so as to put a proper fear of the same treatment into all of these other people here, and those around the country who have signed that petition, and everyone else who is following this case-- didn't you all take oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution by which the Sixth Circuit says this punishment of me today is particularly proscribed?

Nancy Edmunds issued orders at the government's request abridging my First Amendment freedoms.

I have been declared by a jury (or at least part of a jury, but only maybe, really, since it may be that not a single juror found that I did one or the other of these things) to have resisted those orders by exercising my First Amendment freedoms by way of expressing myself freely on my 2008 tax return, and failing to express myself with government-dictated words repudiating my freely-made 2002 and 2003 returns.

Now we are here today with the government asking that I be punished for those exercises of my First Amendment freedoms.

Is this not a particularly proscribed direct retaliation for my exercise of First Amendment freedoms?

Does not “particularly proscribed” mean, “not allowed”, as in “no one, including anyone here today, is allowed to punish me for refusing to let my speech be controlled by the government and refusing to abandon my right to due process”?

I don't claim to be a legal expert, but I'm not stupid, either, and yet I do not understand how I can lawfully have been put through what I have suffered already, much less anything further.

Judge Roberts, you are aware that I take issue with many aspects of my trial and the way its outcome was achieved. I have detailed a number of those issues in post-trial motions, and alluded to others. I expect vindication in the appellate court and I think you have to acknowledge that I have good reason for that expectation. In light of this fact, for me to suffer punishment prior to having my opportunity to be vindicated by the appellate court would be a profound injustice.

For that reason, and for all the technical reasons that Mr. Cedrone has detailed in my sentencing memorandum and here in person today why it would be proper and appropriate even if no appeal were intended, I ask you to exercise your discretion here today with the lightest of hands.

The Federal Court's Response

SO, THAT SURELY LED to a merely nominal, non-custodial sentence, pending the appeal and disposal of the demented, grossly un-American and plainly un-constitutional idea that anyone can be ordered, over her objection, to write government-dictated words and sign them with a sworn declaration that they are her own words, right?

'Fraid not.

First the packed courtroom (with spill-over into the hall-- thanks SO MUCH to everyone that came!) was treated to a twenty-minute reading of scripted lies and calumnies about Doreen in which the "CtC says only federal employees are subject to the tax" strawman was carefully repeated over and over, leaving any listener who knows better to wonder if George Orwell himself was exhumed to work on the thing, and to marvel at how desperate the "ignorance tax" schemers are to sustain and spread that fictional pretext for disparagement.

During this screed, Doreen's steadfast refusal to waive her rights and bow to "authority" was literally described as "dangerous to the community", and the deliberate intention of using a harsh sentence on her to chill others from exercising their own rights of speech and due process was openly articulated.

Doreen was then sentenced to 18 months in prison, to begin in 60 days... or only in 30 if she has not, by then, submitted the illegally-ordered perjurious "amended returns" the government is SO revealingly-desperate to get by any means necessary.

A Call To Action

SO, HERE'S MY CALL TO ACTION, PEOPLE. This renewed, and now even more pointed assault on the speech, conscience and due process (not to mention self-incrimination) rights is exactly the kind of federal government violation of the law for which Jefferson and Madison advocated interposition by the states.

All our rights are worthy of defense, of course, but those being trampled here, and in this fashion, are particularly so, even without consideration of the fact that the assault is being undertaken to protect the continued viability of an inherently exploitive, now outright fraudulent tax-collection scheme which is at this point itself crossing into unconstitutionality.

As written, the income tax is entirely Constitutional. But when what is now a sustained, illegal assault on the truth is launched in order to keep its limited scope successfully concealed and to preserve its systematic mis-application, the thing begins to become unconstitutional in substance even while remaining Constitutional in form.

Thus, we are faced here with a complex, multi-faceted power-play by the feds against the people's law such that the states, by the agency of which the federal government was created, and which are the countervailing and chief supervisory powers against it in our governmental structure, should step in and defend Doreen (and thereby, all of us) from this outrage.

Our governor here in Michigan is a republican named Rick Snyder. Various ways of contacting him can be found here. Please use them and urge Gov. Snyder to step in and protect Doreen from the effort to violate her rights. The Michigan Attorney General is Bill Schuette. He can be contacted as indicated here.

UPDATE: It's very important that everyone use his or her own words in communicating with these folks. But this communiqué to Governor Rick Snyder (using Snyder's webpage "contact form") was sent to me right after I posted this article, and I am sharing it as a fine example of what I think is the right tone and focus on the point in responding to this call for action:

I chose this category [law and public safety] because the public can never be safe if government is not restrained by the rule of law.

I am specifically referring to Doreen Hendrickson's predicament : NO PERSON can be legally compelled to sign a government form under the penalty of perjury with facts which that person does not believe are true. PERIOD.

The State of Michigan must not allow the federal government to so curtail the due process of law and the first amendment so as to be able to imprison Mrs. Hendrickson. To allow this is not merely a travesty of justice in the matter of US v Doreen Hendrickson, it is the abandonment of the rule of law for all the people, in every state of the union and you, sir, have the opportunity and duty to prevent it.

Very sincerely yours,

Tim Richardson  

Non-Michiganders' own home-state officials should be equally interested, by the way-- they, too are supposed to be ensuring that the feds stay within the set boundaries. Further, the chill meant to be accomplished by the assault on Doreen is aimed at everyone living in every state of the union.

BY THE WAY, it's interesting to note that the charade of judicial process here was particularly-plainly nothing more than that. On Monday last week, the judge in the case asked both sides to submit supplemental sentencing memoranda taking consideration of a sentencing guidelines section she decided might be apropos. She indicated that she was prepared to continue the sentencing date so as to allow for proper jobs on these supplements:

Both sides were agreeable:

And then I'm guessing somebody at headquarters got wind of this and somebody else got her marching orders:

Gotta have this little show trial wrapped-up ready for the just-before-"tax day" PR campaign, yes?

PLEASE MAKE THOSE CALLS, and make some noise about this. If we all (this means you) steadily and diligently inject truth into the narrative and rebut the government spin on this, and keep the focus on the rights-violations that are the real substance of this story, we can avert a great evil from being committed on one woman, and protect all our rights from the erosion represented by this pernicious crime.

UPDATE: Shortly after this story was posted, Tony Jackson, a serious warrior-for-the-truth living in Ohio, shared a letter he had immediately written to his U.S. congressman demanding attention to this outrage. I think this is a great parallel action everyone can also take that has good promise of being helpful in a couple of different ways.


from Amazing Spider-Man #537


Some videos focusing on this case can be seen here (and my other videos on the subject of the income tax generally can be seen here).

The latest news can be found here and here.

"A free people claim their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate"

-Thomas Jefferson