LIME SPRINGS — A federal judge has turned down a Minnesota man’s challenge to the Linn County Sheriff’s Office’s ability to hold a former Lime Springs resident awaiting trial on federal gun charges.
Joseph Howard Yennie of Goodhue, Minn., filed a pro-se writ of habeas corpus on behalf of Michael Duane Strain, 62, alleging the sheriff’s office can’t legally hold Strain.
“Prisoner is a non-corporate live man and not subject to corporate rules, regulations or statutes not in pursuance of the law of the land as established by the Organic Constitution,” Yennie wrote in his filing.
He was seeking $75,000 per hour in damages until Strain, a former Minnesota resident, is released.
According to authorities, Strain — who was at large for almost eight years and on an ATF most wanted list before he was captured on a ranch on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana in July 2019 — ascribes to sovereign citizen beliefs, a theory that laws don’t apply to people who severed ties with the United States.
Yennie’s court action was filed in U.S. District Court in St. Paul, Minn., where a federal judge transferred it to the Cedar Rapids-based Northern District of Iowa, where Strain is facing an upcoming trial.
On Thursday, Judge C.J. Williams dismissed Yennie’s action, calling it “a collection of nonsensical sovereign citizen dogma.”
“It is impossible for the court to make any meaningful analysis of those statements,” wrote Williams, who then warned both Strain and Yennie from submitting subsequent writs.
“If they continue to file the same frivolous petitions, the court will consider sanctions,” Williams said.
Yennie had earlier attempted to intervene and present evidence and arguments in Strain’s criminal case but was turned down.
Strain is acting as his own attorney, and in September he asked the court to throw out the charges against him by challenging the court’s jurisdiction. His motion was dismissed.
In August, Strain also filed a writ of habeas corpus challenging his detention, but he mistakenly filed it against Sheriff Jim Yon, who is the sheriff for Linn County, Ore. Yon is also the top Google search result for the term “Linn County Sheriff” without adding the “Iowa” qualifier. The writ was thrown out because Strain didn’t pay the $5 filing fee.
Strain’s criminal charges stem from a 2011 search of his Lime Springs home where authorities found rifles, shotguns and revolvers, despite the fact he has prior convictions for explosives, fleeing police and a short-barrel shotgun in Minnesota.
He is also facing weapons charges in Montana for firearms found on the ranch where he was arrested in July.