Date of Graduation
Master of Arts in Sociology (MA)
Sociology and Criminal Justice
Christopher A. Shields
Brent L. Smith
Second Committee Member
Jeffery A. Gruenewald
Third Committee Member
Casey T. Harris
Social sciences; Anti-government; Anti-tax; Extremism; Far-right; Sovereign citizen movement; Terrorism
To date little to no empirical research has been conducted on the Sovereign Citizen Movement (SCM) and how it fits into the broader far-right domestic terrorist movement. The main focus of this study is to determine if there is a significant difference between the SCM and the far-right in their demographic composition, trial strategies, and trial behaviors and whether the SCM should be grouped together with the broader far-right during analysis. Using the American Terrorism Study (ATS), I coded 97 federal court cases involving sovereign citizen defendants (N=150) and ran basic frequencies on demographic and trial behavior variables on the SCM defendants and compared them to the non-sovereign citizen far-right defendants (N=382) in the ATS; the two groups were different at every level. I then ran bivariate analysis to determine the significance in the differences between the two groups. Results showed that all of the differences between the two groups were significant in relation to demographics, how sovereign citizens behave during trial, and how the government prosecutes sovereign citizen defendants. In conclusion, the SCM is significantly, and substantially, different and should be studied separately from the broader far-right when conducting future research.
Smith, Stephen Garrett, "An Analysis of the Sovereign Citizen Movement: Demographics and Trial Behaviors" (2016). Theses and Dissertations. 1523.