“Good morning, MurrayCo, how can I help you today?”
“Hello, this is detective Grant with the Knoxville Sheriff’s department.”
“Hello Detective, what can I do for you?”
“Well we’ve got a bit of a situation down here. One of our citizens has identified the perpetrator in a burglary as an alleged client of yours.”
“Really? Hm, is this a gambling or contractual dispute of some kind, or is your client–“
“Citizen.”
“Of course, sorry. Is your citizen claiming that our client seized his property through force or fear?”
“This is a traditional theft accusation, breaking and entering and the removal of property. We’re at the suspect’s home now, but he’s got a MurrayCo flag up so I figured I’d call you before taking any risk.”
“And we do appreciate that sir. Can you give me the address or the subscriber number on the MurrayCo sticker near the gate or driveway, so that I can confirm that we are indeed protecting this property?”
“He doesn’t have one this is way out in the sticks on a dirt road.”
“I can use GPS coordinates as well.”
“You can?”
“Certainly.”
“Oh you know what here’s the subscriber number…128…393…922…1. He had it stuck to a rock haha.”
“Thank you for that, just a moment while I confirm. Ah, yes, this property is presently under MurrayCo jurisdiction. In case this dispute has to be brought before a judge, I’m going to begin recording this call as a record of our agreement. Do you accept this method of establishing an agreement between MurrayCo and your jurisdiction?”
“Yes.”
“Thank you. Please state your name, your jurisdiction’s name, and your position there giving you authority to enter into an agreement with MurrayCo.”
“Nicholas Grant, Knoxville Sheriff’s department, Detective in charge of the case.”
“Thank you. Now to summarize the case, I have this under accusation of property crime, category of crude theft without bodily harm or threat of bodily harm, against the personal property of an individual employing the protection of the Knoxville Sheriff’s department. Is this information correct?”
“Yes.”
“And could you please state the estimated value of the property in question?”
“Ummm $500.00.”
“Alright I’ll put that down as…0.1812 oz. Au, on current spot price. And are you seeking recovery of property, monetary damages, both, or other?”
“Both.”
“Very well. MurrayCo maintains the position that our client is innocent until definitive evidence to the contrary is discovered, or a judge on our approved list renders a contrary judgement. Without admitting any wrongdoing on the part of our client, let me ask, would the conventional 300% awarded in cases of crude theft without bodily harm or threat thereof be sufficient to discharge our liability to you in the event of an unfavorable finding?”
“The conventional award in addition to the recovery of the property would be sufficient.”
“Alright so I have you on record as saying that recovery of the property at full value, and damages in the amount of 0.5438 oz. Au, is the maximum amount necessary to satisfy your jurisdiction. Is this limit of liability correct?”
“Yes, excluding judge’s fees if necessary.”
“Of course. Now I have here your jurisdiction’s approved list of judges; do you know of any reason any of them would be unsuitable to this particular dispute?”
“No.”
“Very good, do you authorize MurrayCo to select from your approved list a judge to hear this case in the event it is necessary?”
“Yes.”
“Thank you. Now I have a few mandatory declarations, and I thank you for your patience. Please say ‘yes’ after each if you understand and accept the terms involved.”
“Alright.”
“Thank you. First, MurrayCo maintains the innocence of our client. On the basis of our previous experience with your jurisdiction, we are, however, willing to investigate your claim. A period of investigation, to begin immediately and to end either when the parties or satisfied or a judgement is rendered, shall preclude any action on the part of your jurisdiction against the person or property of our client. Such action will be treated as hostile aggression, notwithstanding your claim of wrongdoing on the part of our client. Do you agree and bind your jurisdiction from such action?”
“Yes.”
“Thank you. Second, per our previous agreement, should the services of a judge become necessary, MurrayCo will select one that appears on both published judge lists of your jurisdiction and ours. You agree to submit to the judgement of the judge thus selected, and not dispute either the selection of judge or the ruling, should judge services be necessary. Judgement shall not be sought sooner than 14 days from today, to allow time for investigation.”
“Yes.”
“Thank you. Last, your jurisdiction cedes the investigation of the alleged crime to MurrayCo, and will provide all evidence thus far collected to MurrayCo investigators.”
“Yes.”
“Thank you very much Detective, do you have the contact information to send over your specific report, including a detailed description of the property, to the investigation office?”
“Yeah I’ve got it.”
“Great, try to get that in by 14:30, I’d like to have an investigator visit this site today if I could.”
“Alright, thank you ma’am.”
“Thank you Detective, have a good day.”

The detective put down his phone and sighed.

“What the hell was that crap all about, Nick?”

It was Bill, a veteran officer and skeptic of the voluntary jurisdictions model. The cops are the cops as far as he was concerned, and this new-fangled private defense nonsense seemed like madness to him, not least because the department had shrunk to one-third its previous size when tax funding was ended, and the Sheriff was forced to switch to a subscription model. Bill continued:

“The perp’s right in that house, why don’t we just go over there and arrest him? Instead you’re spending all day talking to some damn help desk.”

“Bill, don’t even start. That guy in there has a deposit with MurrayCo, and they’ve got an agreement with him. In two weeks, we’re either going to have a check on my desk for the damages, while THEY worry about collecting from their guy, or else a court the Sheriff trusts is going to be deciding the case, and MurrayCo’s going to make sure their guy performs. And that’s surer bet than even finding the stolen property in there. And it’s a WAY surer bet than none of us gets shot kicking down the door.”