In Norman v. City of Chicago, an Illinois Appellate Court rejected a “sovereign citizen” defense brought by a vehicle owner in a City ordinance enforcement action.
The owner of a vehicle was issued a $60 fine for violating the City of Chicago Code due to expired registration on his license plate. He filed an appeal with the City of Chicago Department of Administrative Hearings (DOAH) where he argued he did not have any contracts with the City of Chicago, was not engaged in “commerce” while traveling in his private automobile, and that he did not consent to be subject to any City of Chicago laws, so he was exempt from any tickets. The administrative law judge found that the plaintiff did not raise a permissible defense and was responsible for the fine. He appealed that decision to the circuit court, which affirmed the DOAH decision.
On appeal to the Appellate Court, Norman argued the Chicago Code applies to commercial “motor carriers,” not personal use of a vehicle, and that he was not subject to Chicago’s “political boundaries.” The Appellate Court rejected these arguments, stating there was evidence of the violation and that he failed to raise any proper grounds for contesting the violation. The Appellate Court pointed to the Chicago Code provision that “every vehicle when driven or moved upon a highway” shall be subject to registration.
The Court also rejected the plaintiff’s other defenses, noting they were clearly taken from the playbook of “sovereign citizens,” who, in the Court’s opinion, clog the court system by arguing nonsensical legal theories that have no validity in American law.
Post Authored by Katie Nagy & Julie Tappendorf, Ancel Glink