Here’s a Trendy, Totally Unsuccessful Way to Avoid Prosecution in Baltimore

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Noble Drew Ali, founder of the Moorish Science Temple of America
Noble Drew Ali, founder of the Moorish Science Temple of America

According to Assistant State’s Attorney Charles Blomquist, criminal defendants identifying as adherents of a syncretic sect of Islam known as Moorish Science and referencing obscure treaties with Morocco to claim exemption from American laws is “a growing problem within the courts.”

In fact, two murder defendants in one week — Terrence Rollins-Bey and Robert G. Moore — claimed Baltimore Circuit Judge Emanuel Brown had no standing to hear their cases.

Moorish Americans, as adherents are called, often trace their heritage to Morocco or to pre-Columbian America. This has led some — when faced with prosecution — to claim immunity, sometimes based on a 1787 U.S.-Moroccan treaty 

It’s reminiscent of those privacy notices Facebook users post to their timelines to modify the network’s terms of service. And just like those notices, claiming “sovereign citizen” status based on an eighteenth-century treaty between Morocco and the United States is ultimately futile. (Moore’s trial is proceeding in his absence after he refused to come to court.)

At one point in court Rollins-Bey said, “I am a natural living soul.” Unfortunately for him, that has little legalistic value.

By the way, it should be noted that the Moorish Science Temple of America regards these desperate defenses as a distortion of their faith.

 



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