Clerks react to sovereign movement lien filings
There’s a push within the clerk and recorder industry to offer automatic notice when a lien has been placed on a person’s property, inspired in part by the actions of some in the sovereign citizen movement.
Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Sheila Reiner told Mesa County commissioners during a recent meeting that clerks and recorders around Colorado are becoming more interested in automatically notifying people of liens after an increasing number of sovereign citizens have filed paperwork to separate their “financial self” and “soulful self,” then filed liens against the properties of people they feel have wronged them in some way in an attempt to get payment. Judges and law enforcement officers have been popular targets, she said.
Sovereign citizens is a term linked to people who do not recognize U.S. currency or government at various levels.
Without a notice from a clerk and recorder’s office, the people impacted rarely know a lien has been placed on their property until they are going through a transaction that involves property, such as trying to get or refinance a mortgage loan, Reiner said.
“A court has to decide on your behalf that was not (a) legal (lien) and dismiss it” before those people can carry on with their intended financial endeavors, Reiner said.
Reiner said the local clerk and recorder’s office has received “a lot” of Uniform Commercial Code documents trying to separate a person’s financial self from his or her soulful self but she’s not aware of any specific instances where a Mesa County resident has found out about a lien from a sovereign citizen this way. She said it has happened in other places.
“Sovereign citizens feel like the recording division is their gateway to government,” Reiner said.
The automatic notification on liens from any person would allow victims to be better prepared for an illegal lien or even a legal one, such as one from a contractor, she said. Although the plan would be to send those notifications electronically, Reiner said the clerk and recorder’s offices would need an upgrade of their current software system for that to work. The office is looking at a technology update, she said, but would also have to consider maintenance of such a system and the needs of title companies before considering a change.