A Case of the UPPERCASE letters – Debunking the Myths

Because the titles of court cases identify the parties in all capital letters, the persons identified are theorised by the freeman movement to be “fictitious entities” and “STATE v. JOHN Q. SMITH” has no authority over the defendant, “John Q. Smith” because the capitalization of the name means the court is addressing a person who does not exist. Similar arguments have also been raised unsuccessfully about things such as the presence or absence of punctuation, or of a middle name or middle initial.

Strawman theory makes these claims based on an assumption that the Latin “capitis diminutio maxima” was represented by an individual’s name being written entirely in capital letters.

FACT: When the doctrine of Capitis Diminutio maxima, media and minima existed in Roman Law, THERE WAS NO SUCH THING AS “LOWER-CASE LETTERS” YET, for any such difference to exist.

“The classical Roman Latin alphabet only has what we called “upper case”, or majuscule, letters.

By the 4th century CE, a semi-cursive style called uncial was being used for handwriting. Uncial is considered a majuscule style but with rounded letters. Eventually this evolved into the minuscule style by the 8th century CE. Originally the two styles were used separately, majuscules for monumental inscription, and minuscules for manuscripts. However, during the reign of Charles the Great (early 9th century CE) the Carolingian Reform forced the merging of the two styles and the creation of the “dual alphabet”. With this, our modern Roman alphabet was born.”


“The Latin alphabet started out as uppercase serifed letters known as roman square capitals. The lowercase letters evolved through cursive styles that developed to adapt the formerly inscribed alphabet to being written with a pen.

Roman cursive script, also called majuscule cursive and capitalis cursive, was the everyday form of handwriting used for writing letters, by merchants writing business accounts, by schoolchildren learning the Latin alphabet, and even by emperors issuing commands. A more formal style of writing was based on Roman square capitals, but cursive was used for quicker, informal writing. It was most commonly used from about the 1st century BC to the 3rd century AD, but it probably existed earlier than that.

The lower case (minuscule) letters developed in the Middle Ages from New Roman Cursive writing, first as the uncial script, and later as minuscule script. The old Roman letters were retained for formal inscriptions and for emphasis in written documents. The languages that use the Latin alphabet generally use capital letters to begin paragraphs and sentences and for proper nouns. The rules for capitalization have changed over time, and different languages have varied in their rules for capitalization. Old English, for example, was rarely written with even proper nouns capitalised; whereas Modern English of the 18th century had frequently all nouns capitalised, in the same way that Modern German is today.”


“Classical Latin was only ever written in uppercase letters without the letters J, U, or W. Lowercase was not invented until later and even then only one form of each letter was used. Two cases weren’t used until even later, by which time Latin was no longer anybody’s native language.”

“To unmask the origin of the capital letter we need to refer to a script derived from the Old Roman cursive called uncial.

Uncial is a majuscule script, a synonym meaning “large or capital letter,” commonly used by Latin and Greek scribes beginning around the 3rd century AD. The word is derived from the Latin uncialis meaning “of an inch, of an ounce.”

The original twenty-one letters in the Latin alphabet are derived from the uncial style of writing. As the Latin alphabet was adapted for other languages over time, more letters were added that also incorporated the majuscule lettering thus giving us the Modern Latin alphabet from which the English alphabet is derived.

As the uncial script evolved, a smaller, more rounded and connected Greek-style lettering called minuscule was introduced around the 9th century AD. It soon became very common to mix miniscule and some uncial or capital letters within a word, the latter used to add emphasis. In contrast, many other writing systems such as the Georgian language and Arabic make no distinction between upper and lowercase lettering – a system called unicase.”


“uncial [ uhn-shee-uhl, -shuhl ]
1. designating, written in, or pertaining to a form of 1)majuscule2) writing having a curved or rounded shape and used chiefly in Greek and Latin manuscripts from about the 3rd to the 9th century atooltip({ tip: "#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_1", tipClass: "footnote_tooltip", effect: "fade", fadeOutSpeed: 100, predelay: 400, position: "top right", relative: true, offset: [10, 10] });d.”


“majuscule [ muh-juhs-kyool, maj-uh-skyool ]
1. (of letters) 3)capital4)tooltip({ tip: "#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_3", tipClass: "footnote_tooltip", effect: "fade", fadeOutSpeed: 100, predelay: 400, position: "top right", relative: true, offset: [10, 10] });
2. large, as either capital or uncial letters.
3. written in such letters (minuscule).”


“There were no lower case letters in the Old Latin at first, and K, Y and Z used only for writing words of Greek origin. The letters J, U and W were added to the alphabet at a later stage to write languages other than Latin. J is a variant of I, U is a variant of V, and W was introduced as a ‘double-v’ to make a distinction between the sounds we know as ‘v’ and ‘w’ which was unnecessary in Latin.

The modern Latin alphabet consists of 52 letters, including both upper and lower case, plus 10 numerals, punctuation marks and a variety of other symbols such as &, % and @.

The lowercase letters developed from cursive versions of the uppercase letters.”


“It should be noted that there is a legal principle known as Idem sonans (Latin for “sounding the same”) which states that similar sounding names are just as valid in referring to a person.

The relevant UK precedent is R v Davis 1851. “If two names spelt differently necessarily sound alike, the court may, as matter of law, pronounce them to be idem sonantia; but if they do not necessarily sound alike, the question whether they are idem sonantia is a question of fact for the jury.”


Here in Australia, s 15AC of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901 (Cth) and s 14C of the Acts Interpretation Act 1954 (Qld) both provide that changes in style or drafting practices do not affect the meaning of a provision.

Eddie Ray Kahn, a co-defendant of Wesley Snipes in his high-profile tax evasion case, “made several missteps and peculiar motions. For example, he sought to be immediately freed because the indictment lists his name in all capital letters, and he claimed U.S. attorneys have no jurisdiction because Florida supposedly was never ceded to the federal government”.

Of course, the court denied these motions, and in fact, no court has ever upheld such an argument. In United States v. Ford it was argued that an IRS summons was invalid because the IRS capitalized all the letters in the taxpayer’s name, which was ruled to be frivolous.

“Defendants’ assertion that the capitalization of their names in court documents constitutes constructive fraud, thereby depriving the district court of jurisdiction and venue, is without any basis in law or fact…” ~ United States v. Frech

“Defendant contends that the Indictment must be dismissed because ‘KURT WASHINGTON,’ spelled out in capital letters, is a fictitious name used by the Government to tax him improperly as a business, and that the correct spelling and presentation of his name is ‘Kurt Washington.’ This contention is baseless…” ~ United States v. Washington


“Defendant is apparently a member of a group loosely styled “sovereign citizens.” The Court has deduced this from a number of Defendant’s peculiar habits. First, like Mr. Leaming, sovereign citizens are fascinated by capitalization. They appear to believe that capitalizing names has some sort of legal effect. For example, Defendant writes that “the REGISTERED FACTS appearing in the above Paragraph evidence the uncontroverted and uncontrovertible FACTS that the SLAVERY SYSTEMS operated in the names UNITED STATES, United States, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, and United States of America . . . are terminated nunc pro tunc by public policy, U.C.C. 1-103 . . . .” (Def.’s Mandatory Jud. Not. at 2.) He appears to believe that by capitalizing “United States,” he is referring to a different entity than the federal government. For better or for worse, it’s the same country.

The Court therefore feels some measure of responsibility to inform Defendant that all the fancy legal-sounding things he has read on the internet are make-believe. Defendant can call himself a “public minister” and “private attorney general,” he may file “mandatory judicial notices” citing all his favorite websites, he can even address mail to the “Washington Republic.” But at the end of the day, while sovereign citizens and Defendant cite things like “Universal Law Ordinances,” they are subject to both state and federal laws, just like everyone else.”

For the reasons stated above, no response is required by the Government. DATED this 12th day of February, 2013

Ronald B. Leighton
United States District Judge

References   [ + ]

1. majuscule* writing having a curved or rounded shape and used chiefly in Greek and Latin manuscripts from about the 3rd to the 9th century a
2. writing having a curved or rounded shape and used chiefly in Greek and Latin manuscripts from about the 3rd to the 9th century a

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