SCSO: Courthouse security breached by two alleged Sovereign Citizens

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

A security breach occurred at the Spalding County Courthouse when two individuals who allegedly falsely identified themselves as law enforcement officers were allowed to enter while armed with handguns.

Authorities say the incident, which occurred Jan. 26, was initiated by a man and woman who entered the courthouse and approached the security check point while wearing clothing depicting themselves as “marshals.”

According to a report filed by Deputy Michelle Long, she and Deputy Chad Long, of the Spalding County Sheriff’s Office Court Services Unit, the suspect pair entered the courthouse and approached the security checkpoint.

Lyons reported the white female and a white male were dressed in law enforcement gear wearing badges, sidearm weapons and identification for marshals. She said upon their approach to her security station, she requested to see their identification.

The identification said “marshal,” Lyons said, and the deputy checked the ensure the photographs matched the individuals presenting them. Lyons noted the female also had a pair of handcuffs inside her bag that was presented.

“Thinking they were government officials, I granted them access in the courthouse,” Lyons stated. “They went into the tag office. At that point, both Deputy Long and I noticed the back of their shirts read Continental Marshals.”

Long conducted an Internet search, and Lyons said the only information located pertained to the Continental Marshals for the Republic.

“Finding this information, we believed them to be of the sovereign citizen movement,” Lyons said. “Deputy Long waited for them to exit the tag office and asked to speak with them. The female did the talking, explaining their duties and responsibilities. She stated that they worked internationally and were over several national agencies.”

After the couple exited the courthouse, deputies made contact with employees of Tax Commissioner Sylvia Hollums’ office, and later that day, with Hollums.

Deputies were able to identify the white male as Kenneth Alexander Martin. The female was not immediately identified, but is described as a white female with a tan who is approximately 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighing an estimated 220 to 230 pounds. She had long dark hair in a ponytail with short gray hair along the hairline.

This female was later tentatively identified as Martin’s mother.

Spalding County Sheriff Darrell Dix explained that investigators from his office did not immediately execute an arrest in relation to this incident because the decision was made to seek assistance from the District Attorney’s Office, state and other agencies to determine the best course of action.

In a later interview, Dix said those other agencies have been involved since the onset of the investigation, and after reviewing footage and the facts of the case, the decision was made not to pursue charges.

“Based on conversations with the GBI and the District Attorney’s Office, what the District Attorney has done is look at case law,” Dix said, citing state law regarding impersonating a law enforcement officer. “The code requires an overt act. Because of that, case law would preclude prosecution. It doesn’t meet the threshold of being able to prosecute.”

That law, OCGA 16-10-23, which pertains to impersonating a public officer or employee, states, “A person who falsely holds himself out as a peace officer or other public officer or employee with intent to mislead another into believing that he is actually such officer commits the offense of impersonating an officer and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than fives years, or both.”

Chief Deputy Tony Thomason further clarified, stating, “We feel that because we, in error, facilitated them doing that (entering the courthouse while armed), that it precludes prosecution.”

Dix said despite some rumors citing otherwise, the incident was confined to the Tax Commissioner’s Office.

“There were rumors, but upon investigation, it was recognized and determined to be a non-incident,” Dix said. “New procedures that were already being put in place and modifications that began in January will hopefully prevent that from happening again.”

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Comments

  1. Who exactly are these Marshal’s and what is their job, authority and jurisdiction?

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