Concealment Of Material Facts Triggers Estoppel

In your study of law, if you’ve never heard of it before, the concept of estoppel may be a concept with which you may want to familiarize yourself. Especially when it comes to being forced to defend your “person” in traffic court. According to this view, you are well within your rights to avoid that jurisdiction by invoking the rule of estoppel by conduct in the course of seeking remedy from administrative procedure! Although there is very little, if any, empirical evidence that contemporary American courts (as opposed to those in prior years) are recognizing this approach and thereby backing off, once it becomes established on the record, the prosecution (in its individual private capacity) now leaves itself open fatally to collateral attack in a separate lawsuit based on the concealment of a material fact. As always, you are encouraged to do your own personal research on this matter in order to satisfy the certainty of your conviction as to the veracity of these assertions.

Very simply, the doctrine of estoppel is a judicial device in common law legal systems whereby a court may prevent or “estop” a person from making assertions or from going back on his word. The person being sanctioned is “estopped” from asserting a point of fact on a matter or, for example, from making a complaint after having failed to take advantage of an opportunity to clarify a point of fact being inquired about, such as one’s identity, when there is a clear duty to do so, or suitably failing to rebut a prior assertion from the other party.

So, for example, when an officer refuses to identify himself when asked for his own driver license, business card, or other identification, so that you as a private party can make an informed determination of the capacity you wish to act under when someone unknown to you is attempting to do business with you, by such refusal to show you his ID, he has created an estoppel by conduct through the omission of a material fact. By asking for an officer’s (or a prosecutor’s or a judge’s) ID you want to confirm that he rightly has the authority confered on him by the public office he purports to hold and not the private corporate office which pays him with corporate script known as Federal Reserve notes. [Note: Corporate script, also declared by the federal government to be “legal tender” in the payment of debts public or private, while it is not technically considered to be money per se by reason of its not being backed by anything of substance like gold or silver, it is treated as though it were money.]

If the officer points to his badge as the authority for his jurisdiction, that in itself is not valid enough proof of the capacity he is operating under. Because a badge is just a piece of tin metal; anyone can buy and carry a badge that appears genuine.  The badge, in itself, does not confer any more authority than what a person may falsely assume it carries. Yet furthermore, and more importantly, it does not convey the capacity that the person is operating under! The whole purpose of asking the question about capacity is to gain information about a material fact so that you can make a determination about the legal entity (whether it is public or private) the person is representing.

In the instance where the officer refuses to reveal his true corporate persona, and he is acting in the capacity of a commercial policy enforcer when he stops you, but he doesn’t disclose that fact to you ahead of time, you (as his victim) are operating under a faulty assumption of authority if you let him get away with that. Instead, he hides it from you when you inquire so that he may assume you are acting in the same commercial capacity as himself. You were never given an opportunity to act in any other capacity because you were denied a material fact that the officer was using (through his assumption of the capacity under which he presumed you were operating) so that by this deception he may gain jurisdiction over your person’s actions.

If the officer gives you any grief over not accepting his badge as proof of his authority to detain you, you might inquire of him the following: “Are you acting in the capacity of being a public officer with an oath of office to support the Constitution of the United States of America? Or are you acting in the capacity of a private corporate office? Which is it? Because I do not know who you are. Or what capacity you are operating under until you tell me.” In which case, you can reasonably expect that he will likely lie to you and say that he is acting in the capacity of his public office. But unless you have a witness or have recorded the event, it is your word against his when you get to court and he lies again about his capacity. And guess who the court is going to presume is telling the truth! 

Without going into a great amount of detail, there are three kinds of estoppels: (1) by deed (i.e. a written contractual instrument); (2) by matter of record (i.e., documented in legislation or a court record); and (3) by matter in pais. Estoppel by deed “is a bar which precludes one party to a deed and his privies from asserting as against the other party and his privies any right or title in derogation of the deed or from denying the truth of any material facts asserted in it. Denny v. Wilson County, 198 Tenn. 677, 281 S.W.2d 671, 675.” Estoppel by record “is the preclusion to deny the truth of a matter set forth in a record, whether judicial or legislative, also to deny the facts adjudicated in a court of competent jurisdiction. An estoppel by record cannot be invoked where allegation or recitals did not conclude pleader in prior proceeding. Blackburn v. Blackburn, Tex.Civ.App., 163 S.W.2d 251, 255.”

By contrast, estoppel by matter in pais, also known as equitable estoppel or estoppel by conduct, which is the type of estoppel with which we here are concerned in an arraignment hearing in traffic court, may be characterized as “the doctrine by which a person may be precluded by his act or conduct, or silence when it is his duty to speak, from asserting a right which he otherwise would have had. Mitchell v. McIntee, 15 Or.App. 85, 514 P.2d 1357, 1359. The effect of a party’s voluntary conduct whereby he is precluded from asserting rights as against another person who has in good faith relied upon such conduct and has been led thereby to change his condition for the worse and who acquires some corresponding right of property or contract. Oswego Falls Corporation v. City of Fulton, 148 Misc. 170, 265 N.Y.S. 436.” [emphasis added]

“Elements or fundamentals of ‘estoppel in pais’ include admission, statement, or act inconsistent with claim afterwards asserted. National Match Co. v. Empire Storage & Ice Co., 227 Mo.App. 1115, 58 S.W.2d 797; change of position to loss or injury of party claiming estoppel, Malloy v. City of Chicago, 369 Ill. 97, 15 N.E.2d 861, 865; circumstances such that party estopped knew or should have known facts to be otherwise or pretended to know facts which he did not know; false representation or concealment of material facts. Pickens v. Maryland Casualty Co., 141 Neb. 105, 2 N.W.2d 593, 596; misleading of one person by another person to his prejudice or injury. Current News Features v. Pulitzer Pub. Co., C.C.A.Mo., 81 F.2d 288, 292; prejudice or loss or injury to party claiming estoppel. City of St. Louis v. Mississippi River Fuel Corporation, D.C.Mo., 57 F.Supp. 549, 554;”  [emphasis added; legal definitions of estoppel cited in this article are taken from Black’s Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition]

Those wishing a comparative, and perhaps more comprehensive, definition of estoppel by matter in pais, also known as equitable estoppel, may find the following one interesting to note, taken from American Jurisprudence 2d, vol. 28 Estoppel and Waiver § 27, pp. 627-628:

It is the principle by which a party who knows or should know the truth is absolutely precluded … from denying, or asserting the contrary of, any material fact which, by his words or conduct, affirmative or negative, intentionally or through culpable negligence, he has induced another, who was excusably ignorant of the true facts and who had a right to rely upon such words or conduct, to believe and act upon them thereby, as a consequence reasonably to be anticipated, changing his position in such a way that he would suffer injury if such denial or contrary assertion was allowed.  [emphasis added]

For further clarification of  the Black’s Law Dictionary definition of equitable estoppel quoted above, the rest of that same entry tellingly states the following:

“The effect of voluntary conduct of a party whereby he is precluded from asserting rights against another who has justifiably relied upon such conduct and changed his position so that he will suffer injury if the former is allowed to repudiate the conduct. American Bank & Trust Co. v. Trinity Universal Ins. Co., 251 La. 445, 205 So.2d 35, 40. Elements or essentials of such estoppel include change of position for the worse by party asserting estoppel. Malone v. Republic Nat. Bank & Trust Co., Tex.Civ. App., 70 S.W.2d 809, 812; conduct by party estopped such that it would be contrary to equity and good conscience for him to allege and prove the truth. Rody v. Doyle, 181 Md. 195, 29 A.2d 290, 293; false representation or concealment of facts. Clark v. National Aid Life Ass’n, 177 Okl. 137, 57 P.2d 832, 833; ignorance of party asserting estoppel of facts and absence of opportunity to ascertain them. Fipps v. Stidham, 174 Ok!. 473, 50 P.2d” [emphasis added]

So how might one, by way of a “change of postion,” suffer injury or damage by unintentionally confirming his identity as a member of a corporate democracy — through a good faith reliance about a fact being concealed from him — whereby he was subject to that political entity’s jurisdiction and policies? The Fifth Article of Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America states that no man “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” Due process includes the right of “notice and opportunity to inquire.”

If one is deceived into believing, to his detriment, that he is being confronted by an officer operating in his public capacity rather than an officer operating in his private corporate capacity for the defacto democracy government, that amounts to a “concealment of a material fact” that the officer has a duty to disclose upon being questioned. If the officer refuses to disclose that information when he has a duty to provide it, he has just estopped himself by his own conduct from asserting that you have voluntarily provided him jurisdiction over your person such that he may bring you as a party into his private administrative legal proceeding (i.e., traffic court).

Now, how might this concept and objection to the prosecution’s moving forward with its case be used practically in court? That is the million dollar question. Yet, here, one can only speculate, using one’s reason and logic, not having had opportunity to test this approach out in actuality beforehand. Because in a valid court of record such speculation may possibly be a powerful remedy to the situation at hand. That is, as long as other undisclosed facts (assumed by the court yet not proven on the record) are not considered or put into play by the court without disclosure to the parties. Now, what undisclosed facts might those be?

First and foremost, since the traffic court is an administrative court which settles controversies only between artificial persons (i.e., it cannot hear or deal with a man or a woman) who are either being represented by counsel or are representing themselves, the most important fact being presumed by the court is that the “defendant” standing in front of the court is acting in the capacity of a corporate legal person dealing in commerce and who has identified and therefore recognized itself as the ALL CAPITALIZED NAME on the paperwork. If, when asked, you have identified yourself to the court as JOHN HENRY DOE, then you have just incriminated your person to your detriment! And created joinder of the parties in the matter. In case you weren’t aware, the court has jurisdiction over that CAPITALIZED NAME entity and any person identifying himself as such.

Therefore the NAME issue is a matter which deserves its own treatment beyond the scope of the current discussion. So let’s not become too focused on that just yet, because this article is about concealment of a material fact and the creation of estoppel by conduct of one of the parties. As long as you don’t identify yourself with that NAME at any point during oral discussion at a hearing, and can remain laser focused on the main issue of challenging jurisdiction and disqualifying your opponent through estoppel by conduct because he won’t divulge a material fact that you ask about and that he has a duty to disclose, you might stand a chance of having the matter dismissed. A link to an example of how this might happen will be provided at the end of this article.

It helps to keep in mind, if you were not aware of it beforehand, that each state of the union has a dual character in terms of law. California State (the republic) and the STATE OF CALIFORNIA (the commercial corporate person or individual) are two separate legal entities. As such, the type of law passed by the legislature of each entity is different. Positive law are those titles which are consistent with the Constitutional republic nature of the state and apply to men and women, while non-positive laws are not consistent with the Constitution and apply only to legal fictions, artificial persons or corporations. Therefore non-positive laws are not valid in the republic without some sort of agreement (contractual in nature) being in place. If you, through your actions, abandon your stance in the republic, you abandon your unalienable rights. Because such rights are not available to the corporate person under non-positive law!

Another way of looking at this is: government (in whatever form, local municipal, state or federal) is a fiction. That is, it is a creation of the mind of mankind. Under the law of God, the universally acknowledged Creator of mankind, no natural individual is to be harmed under the pretext of an injury to a fiction. If government was to do this without proof of a binding obligation (contractual in nature) of the person, it has acted criminally under color of law. And because government proceeds in court, it has the appearance of being legitimate, but because its legislature is operating in the form of a democracy rather than a republic, it lacks the necessary elements to define a crime within constitutional limitations. Any injury that government causes to a man or woman through its court proceedings under color of law is a crime itself because government in its commercial aspect lacks the necessary authority.

Color of law. The appearance or semblance, without the substance, of legal right. Misuse of power, possessed by virtue of state law and made possible only because wrongdoer is clothed with authority of state, is action taken under “color of state law.” — Atkins v. Lanning, D.C.Okl., 415 F.Supp. 186,188. Blacks Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition.  

There are no victimless crimes in a republic. However, in a democratic corporate structure, otherwise known as a democracy, there can be an unlimited number of victimless crimes. This is because in a democracy the majority (or their presumed agent, the government legislature) may vote to make any act a crime!

Getting back to an officer’s refusal to identify the capacity in which his person is acting through identifying himself, there is a fascinating legal essay published in a 2004 edition of the International Journal of Baltic Law entitled “Can The Doctrine Of Equitable Estoppel Be Applied Against A Government?” This essay very neatly lays out the rationale underpinning how the common law concept of estoppel can be used against a government and its agents. Serious and responsible readers are encouraged to download and read this essay for themselves, for its contention may provide a better understanding of a remedy which hasn’t been hitherto conceived.

In the essay’s Introduction, the author opines:

The doctrine of estoppel emerged namely as a tool to fight injustice, however, it is ‘a private law concept.’ Therefore, the question arises whether it could be applied as a defense against a government by an individual who suffered or can potentially suffer injustice because of government’s actions. The hypothesis of this article is that the doctrine of equitable estoppel can and should be used against a government, its agencies and officers, when justice and fairness, which lie at the heart of this doctrine, so require. The purpose of the article is to convince that the old rule and its exceptions do not suit the present situation. The paper suggests a new approach towards this issue, namely the justice and fairness test.

So let’s take a look at what the author is talking about. In the first section of the essay which explains the doctrine of equitable estoppel, the author establishes the basic reasoned premise for making the assertion that equitable estoppel ought rightfully to be used against government when government oversteps the boudaries of fairness and justice under the rubric of dealing with an equitable matter. This is important to understand, as the rules for an equity court are not the same as for a court of law. The essay’s author explains:

As the very term ‘equitable’ implies, “the whole doctrine of equitable estoppel is a creature of equity and is governed by equitable principles”. Equity in its turn denotes fairness and justice. This parallel between justice and equitable estoppel is very important. This concept evolved as a tool to prevent fraud and injustice and must serve this purpose. Various restrictions upon its application will undermine its essence and the rule of justice. If it is allowed in a situation where private parties are involved, but not in a situation where a public body is involved, the ends of justice and fairness will not be served to the utmost.

The author begins by explaining that the doctrine of equitable estoppel is a common law doctrine which has no counterpart in continental [European] law systems. She continues: “However, continental law countries have the same notions of basic fairness and elementary justice, therefore they also have certain legal doctrines that help achieve a fair balance among competing interests. The counterparts, at least to some extent, of estoppel in civil law countries are the principles of good faith, legitimate expectations or ‘administrative morality’.”

The author then sets out to describe the legal elements that must be proven when claiming that the doctrine of equitable estoppel should be applied to the facts and circumstances of a particular situation, regardless of whether it be in the context of private or administrative law. Since traffic citations are generally deemed to be matters of administrative law, this last assertion is of relevant importance to us here. Because as Title 18 of the United States Code at § 1001 states, the relevant offense of this Title would apply in traffic court:

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—
(1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;
(2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
(3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry; shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years, or both.

(b) Subsection (a) does not apply to a party to a judicial proceeding, or that party’s counsel, for statements, representations, writings or documents submitted by such party or counsel to a judge or magistrate in that proceeding.
(c) With respect to any matter within the jurisdiction of the legislative branch, subsection (a) shall apply only to
(1) administrative matters, including a claim for payment, a matter related to the procurement of property or services, personnel or employment practices, or support services, or a document required by law, rule, or regulation to be submitted to the Congress or any office or officer within the legislative branch;

That pretty much describes every traffic court in the country. A party (or agents for the principal) cannot withhold or conceal a material fact without it being determined to be an offense against the fairness or justice accorded to the other party! One question remains: will these courts honor such a defense? By everything that is right and fair they should. Yet, in today’s polarized political climate, the temptation by the state actors to maintain the perception of unlimited power and control over the masses may prove to be too great a temptation for some. Yet, on the positive side, when a dismissal happens, it is likely the court will seek to dismiss without disclosing the true reason for the dismissal.

Returning to the elements of the doctrine of equitable estoppel to be proven, the author delineates six requisites, gleaned from several sources, needing to be established on the record.

There are several opinions as to how many elements the doctrine of equitable estoppel comprises. A careful study of various sources and the definition of equitable estoppel discussed above leaves one with the set of the following elements of equitable estoppel: there must be a party whose 1) conduct amounts to a false representation or a concealment of material facts and who 2) knows or should know the real facts and who 3) intends or expects the other party to act upon such representation, and there must be another party who 4) does not know the truth and who 5) in fact acts in good faith reliance upon such representation, 6) which results in his detriment. All these elements must be present and proved to establish the applicability of the doctrine of equitable estoppel. If any of these elements is missing, the equitable estoppel cannot be asserted.

So how might this proceed in a matter where the complainant, the prosecutor, and the magistrate (judge) all refuse to disclose their papers of identity and hence the capacity in which they are acting as agents for the state?  Agents for the state want silently to take notice – and thus effectively to deny the existence or accessibility – of the representative republic that is guaranteed by the original unincorporated 1787 Constitution for the United States of America and the subsequent unincorporated 1789 Constitution of the United States of America (with its added sixteen articles of amendment) in favor of the incorporated representative democracy of the 1871 United States Constitution (as this entity was incorporated by the United States Congress in the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1871 of which each modern STATE OF WHATEVER is a franchise member) for which they truly work. 

Notwithstanding that the concept of estoppel by conduct (or equitable estoppel) has mostly been used in matters of civil law rather than criminal law, by all rights of fairness and equality under the law, its use in matters of criminal law ought to be obvious. The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Incorporation’s Constitution [of 1871] guarantees all citizens the right to due process. Due process includes the common law right of “notice and opportunity to inquire” wherein a party has a right to receive sufficient notice and to be able to inquire into matters of fact before engaging in any plea or providing an answer to any charge.

If the sufficiency of notice in a summons or other legal document (like a traffic citation) is incomplete in your estimation, you have the right to inquire into other facts that might complete it. If the other party will not answer your questions and by not responding to your inquiry the result will be to your detriment (i.e., suffering an injury or damage) because you acted in reliance on undisclosed information, the other party has, by operation of law, engaged in a concealment of material facts about which you were inquiring so that you could be fully informed about the alleged matter at hand. 

In case one should think the concept of equitable estoppel lacks validity or is being offered as mere theory, one should be aware that even the highly respected U.S. law encyclopedia American Jurisprudence 2d shares the view that this concept is not mere theory but rather is indispensable to fairness and justice, when it states quite definitively: “equitable estoppel is a rule of justice which . . . prevails over all other rules,” (15: 28 Am Jur 2d, Estoppel and Waiver § 34, p. 639).  Any court not honoring this concept as a reliable defense runs the risk of exposing itself as the corrupt entity that it is, and its officials deserve to be held accountable.

Those wishing to read the real-life account of a subscriber whose alleged case served as the genesis for this article, and who was able to prevail, are urged to read the June 22, 2020 edition of the newsletter titled: Belligerent Claimant Claims Estoppel, Gets Case Dismissed.

If you would like to learn more about concepts of law so you can avoid the whole mess without having to “appear” in court, you can download our free ebook Common Law Remedy To Beat Traffic Tickets and learn about the secrets that the courts and legal profession don’t want you to know.

If you’d like to learn more about the law and how it can serve you, don’t hesitate to check out our Articles on Traffic Law section. Discover some of the secrets of law that you’ve never been taught!

Ubi factum nullum ibi sortia nulla.  Where there is no deed committed, there can be no consequence.