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If a judge leaves a courtroom can I declare myself in charge?

New York, NY |

Can I claim the courtroom as a sovereign citizen and dismiss the case? I would be on the record saying such correct? I believe that we the people have the right to control our own destiny, would I be abiding by the constitution to declare sovereignty?

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I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 16 years. I was named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012 and 2013. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell has given me its highest rating - AV Preeminent - in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury, and Litigation. According to Martindale-Hubbell”AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." Fewer than 8% of attorneys achieve an AV Preeminent rating. I also have the highest ranking – “superb” – on Avvo. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.

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Um.. Let me think... NO!!

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I don't think this will turn out very well.

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First: whether to drop, amend, or add charges is within the sole discretion of the prosecutor. Not the judge.

Second: What you "believe" has no affect on the jurisdiction of the court, or the viability of the charges against you.

Third: Your suggestion as to the right of citizens to unilaterally "dismiss" charges against them would eviscerate the power of the judiciary, the checks and balances provided in Articles I, II, and III of the Federal Constitution, and would render our system of criminal justice nugatory.

Fourth: Would you want to live in a country where the most reviled criminals could avoid justice by declaring "sovereignty"? Rather than rely on your own (mis)understanding of constitutional jurisprudence and criminal procedure, I recommend you consult with a local defense attorney ASAP.

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Short answer: no. Long answer: no. But you'd be surprised how often people do try to pull this type of stuff. It often results in additional charges being brought. Don't do it.

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