Sunday, February 8, 2015

Fifth Circuit Rules Jurisdictional Arguments Frivolous - Bad News For Hansen And Hovind?

The deep thinkers among the Hovindicators, that would be Ernie Land and Paul John Hansen, seem to be focusing on jurisdiction as the winning strategy for the trial next in March.  It is difficult to follow Hansen's arguments, but a lot of it amounts to the federal government not having nearly as much authority as it claims

You have to do a lot of reading and get yourself into a different mindset in order to understand Hansen's arguments which Ernie Land is adopting enthusiastically.

At any rate, as I was going through recent developments (I still have a regular tax blog to maintain). I hit this decision which might make one less sanguine about jurisdictional arguments.  It is short so I am reproducing it in full.

U.S. v. TROWBRIDGE, Cite as 115 AFTR 2d 2015-XXXX, (CA5), 02/03/2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff - Appellee v. JOHN PARKS TROWBRIDGE, JR., Defendant - Appellant.
Case Information:

Code Sec(s):
Docket No.: No. 14-20333 Summary Calendar,
Date Decided: 02/03/2015.
Prior History:





Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas No. 4:14-CV-27

Before HIGGINBOTHAM, JONES, and HIGGINSON, Circuit Judges.


John Parks Trowbridge (“Trowbridge”) appeals the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the government, which ordered Trowbridge's income tax liabilities for 1993 through 1997 reduced to judgment, the associated tax liens on the real property foreclosed, and the real property sold. Trowbridge has not contested the validity of the tax liabilities or his ownership of the real property at issue. He has therefore waived those issues. Yohey v. Collins, 985 F.2d 222, 224–25 (5th Cir. 1993). Instead, Trowbridge argues that Harris County is not in the United States and that he is not a citizen of the United States. He contends that this means the district court did not have subject matter jurisdiction over tax actions against residents of states and that he is not subject to federal income taxes.

This court has already rejected as frivolous the argument that district courts lack subject matter jurisdiction over tax actions against residents of states. United States v. Masat, 948 F.2d 923, 934 [69 AFTR 2d 92-361] (5th Cir. 1991). This court has also stated that 26 U.S.C. §§ 7602(a) and 7604, which authorize the issuance and enforcement of IRS summonses, “are federal laws that the district court has jurisdiction to consider under 28 U.S.C. § 1331.” United States v. Henderson, 209 F. App'x 401, 402 [98 AFTR 2d 2006-8099] (5th Cir. 2006). Moreover, 28 U.S.C. § 1340 explicitly grants district courts jurisdiction in internal revenue cases and 28 U.S.C. § 1345 explicitly grants jurisdiction for civil suits commenced by the United States.

Trowbridge's argument that he is not a citizen of the United States is equally frivolous. He presents “shopworn arguments characteristic of tax-protestor rhetoric that has been universally rejected by this and other courts.”Stearman v. Commissioner , 436 F.3d 533, 537 [97 AFTR 2d 2006-539] (5th Cir. 2006). This court has already held that the “citizens of Texas are subject to the Federal Tax Code.” United States v. Price, 798 F.2d 111, 113 [58 AFTR 2d 86-5791] (5th Cir. 1986). We do not address his arguments further as there is “no need to refute these arguments with somber reasoning and copious citation of precedent; to do so might suggest these arguments have some colorable merit.” Crain v. Commissioner, 737 F.2d 1417 [54 AFTR 2d 84-5698] (5th Cir. 1984). They have no merit at all.

This is not the first time Trowbridge has had these frivolous arguments rejected. In Trowbridge et al. v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2003-164, 200 [2003 RIA TC Memo ¶2003-164]3 WL 21278475, Trowbridge made similar arguments in contesting his 1991–1995 tax liabilities. The tax court imposed a $25,000 sanction. In contesting his 1996–1997 tax liabilities, Trowbridge again used similar arguments in the tax court; he was sanctioned a second time. Trowbridge et al. v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 2003-165, 200 [2003 RIA TC Memo ¶2003-165]3 WL 21278414, at 10. Trowbridge appealed to this court and once again resorted to frivolous arguments. This court upheld the tax court's sanctions and imposed additional sanctions.

Given Trowbridge's history of frivolous appeals, we GRANT Appellee's motion for sanctions pursuant to Fed. R. App. P. 38 in the amount of $8,000. We also order that Trowbridge be barred from filing any further appeals in this court until (1) the sanctions awarded by this court are fully paid; and (2) a district court certifies his appeal as having some arguable merit. See Smith v. McCleod, 946 F.2d 417, 418 (5th Cir. 1991). Trowbridge's motions are DENIED as moot.

Accordingly, the order of the district court is AFFIRMED.

* Pursuant to 5th Cir. R. 47.5, the court has determined that this opinion should not be published and is not precedent except under the limited circumstances set forth in 5th Cir. R. 47.5.4.

(Emphasis added)

I'm sure Mr. Trowbridge made some fatal misstep that Hansen and Land will help Kent Hovind avoid.  Likely Mr. Trowbridge ignored the gold fringe on the flag in the courtroom neglecting to state that his ship was claiming refuge under the Treaty of Westphalia.  Otherwise he would have won.  Anyway when they go into the courtroom in Pensacola, remember what Sgt. Esterhous


  1. I think an insanity plea might win for them.

  2. I think it has become somewhat of a joke that whenever one of them fails there are others willing to step up and explain how they could have won without making the mistakes the loser made.

    That was the case regarding Kent's previous criminal trial and we might expect the same this time around.

    They all seem to have some "silver bullet" that would allow them to win based on a sovcit argument, but the one who winds up in court to give it a try never seems to be able to find it.