Three ‘Sovereign Citizens’ Skip Sentencing, Get Arrested

Here’s a great example of just how disconnected from reality these people who call themselves “sovereign citizens” truly are. After being convicted of tax fraud for filing fake tax returns for millions in refunds, three of these halfwits skipped the sentencing hearing and played golf instead.

One defendant was escorted out of court by marshals while yelling at the judge. Another boasted he shot a 49 in golf instead of attending his sentencing hearing the day before. And a third pleaded to be set free — again.

During the carnival-like atmosphere in U.S. District Court on Thursday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Christine M. Arguello granted a request by convicted tax cheats George Brokaw and John Pawelski to postpone their sentencing hearings then threatened extreme measures against Mimi Vigil if she didn’t behave.

“If you are disruptive next time, I’m going to have you gagged,” Arguello said sternly as three U.S. Marshals handcuffed Vigil and escorted the grinning woman out of the courtroom.

The three Colorado Springs defendants were arrested Thursday after they failed to appear for sentencing Wednesday. They were escorted into court Thursday afternoon in handcuffs, all wearing street clothes.

“We did go golfing. I shot a 49, which was pretty good for me,” Pawelski told the judge after she emphasized the seriousness of the felony charges he faced.

Arguello reset sentencing for all three tax fraud convicts for Feb. 10. The judge brought each offender into the courtroom separately. Brokaw and Pawelski each told the judge they are a “natural man.”

“I am a natural man, a legal person, a legal man; something I didn’t know before,” Pawelski said.

Brokaw and Pawelski explained that the reason they hadn’t attended their sentencing hearings the day before was that their unnamed legal adviser had filed documents on their behalf and predicted their tax-fraud convictions would be “abrogated.”

“We naively assumed the process would go more quickly than it did,” Pawelski said.

I bet I know who that unnamed legal adviser is (they all represented themselves at trial, which worked out quite well for them). I bet it’s Glenn Stoll, the same guy who taught Kent Hovind his idiotic understanding of tax law as well as the Embassy of Heaven and other assorted groups of morons who think they don’t have to pay taxes. This is not the way to get on the good side of the judge. I expect her to give them the maximum possible sentence now, and rightly so.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • http://composer99.blogspot.ca composer99

    Minor pronoun typo in the last sentence viz. the judge.

    Topically, will these defendants be simply let loose, again? Or, having demonstrated their contempt for the legal process, will they be jailed until their sentencing hearing?

  • wreck

    “I am a natural man, a legal person, a legal man”

    And a hoochie-koochie man, Spelled M A N.

  • caseloweraz

    And a third pleaded to be set free — again.

    And he deserves to be set free. He lost his Calloway Warbird on the ninth tee; he has to go find it.

    He sets a heap o’store by that golf ball…

  • Nemo

    I don’t get why they keep taking this advice when it keeps not working.

  • whheydt

    One rather suspects that when they don’t show up on 10 Feb., they well get full room and board until the–again–rescheduled sentencing hearing. this will be on a contempt charge…and maybe a “flight risk” decision as well.

  • raven

    The penalties for tax fraud can be steep. Hovind got 8 1/2 years.

    And he did it himself. If he had just paid back the money, it would have been a civil offense. They government doesn’t want to spend money supporting you in prison, it wants its taxes.

    Tax fraud like these people did, filing false returns and claiming refunds can get a long sentence. Acting up and showing no understanding of what is illegal and why can add to it.

    Colorado Springs? That is Klingenschmidt’s district. AFAICT, it is on its way to being a fundie xian slum.

  • illdoittomorrow

    Nemo @ 4:

    I don’t get why they keep taking this advice when it keeps not working.

    It’s like fiscal austerity, the War on Drugs/Terror/Whatever, or any other motivated reasoning- if it doesn’t work the first time, you didn’t do it hard enough.

  • illdoittomorrow

    In the OP:

    We did go golfing. I shot a 49, which was pretty good for me,” Pawelski told the judge[…]</blockquote

    Yeah, pretty good for the PGA, too. I suspect this guy knows the rules of golf and counting about as well as he knows tax law.

  • eric

    Is there any legal way to go after the advisor? It seems to me that whatever state or federal laws there are against confidence games should be applied here.

    I’m not saying the three aren’t at fault, just that they are being swindled at the same time they are trying to swindle the government.

  • John Pieret

    eric:

    Is there any legal way to go after the advisor?

    If the suckers will rat on him, the government could possibly go after him as a co-conspirator, depending on his level of involvement with their scheme. A fraud charge probably wouldn’t work unless he charged them for his “services,” but, again they’d have to testify against him.

  • Michael Heath

    I presume the golfer who claims to have shot 49 was referring to a 9-hole round rather than an 18 hole round. One does not brag about shooting a 49. That’d be like bragging you made 3 of 10 free throws in basketball; or batting .150 in baseball.

  • lorn

    Wreck @ 2:

    “hoochie-koochie man, Spelled M A N”

    Thanks for the Muddy Waters reference.

    Muddy Waters and Johnny Winter – Mannish Boy:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgaxYEsEVVY

    Michael Heath @ 11:

    I agree, 49 on 18 holes would be impressive. On 9 holes … not so much.

  • Kermit Sansoo

    illdoittomorrow says: Yeah, pretty good for the PGA, too. I suspect this guy knows the rules of golf and counting about as well as he knows tax law.

    .

    Natural men, legal men, are allowed two hand tosses of the golf ball per hole without penalty.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    I presume the golfer who claims to have shot 49 was referring to a 9-hole round rather than an 18 hole round.

    Should you even presume these morons know ANYTHING about golf?

    I expect her to give them the maximum possible sentence now, and rightly so.

    Why? Did they sound like communists?

  • Rasalhague

    I presume the golfer who claims to have shot 49 was referring to a 9-hole round rather than an 18 hole round. One does not brag about shooting a 49. That’d be like bragging you made 3 of 10 free throws in basketball; or batting .150 in baseball.

    Maybe they were teeing off at the “sovereign citizen” tee. It’s an unmarked area right next to the green that you can use provided that you write your name on the scorecard in all caps with random punctuation. Little known rule of golf.

  • dingojack

    Forty-nine? I suspect that was just from the aforementioned ninth alone…

    Rasalhague – too bad the score-card has a gold border. :(

    Dingo

  • dingojack

    forty-nine in nine holes? That’s 5 shots at 5 holes and 6 shots at 4 holes (or better than a double bogie every hole)!

    I say that these doofuses should stick to golf, they’re a shit load better at it than that whole ‘lawyering’ thing.

    @@

    Dingo

  • lpetrich

    Not much different from living downhill of an unstable hillside and denouncing anti-development zoning as big-government nannying (Oso, WA, last year).

  • abb3w

    For the curious, this gives some background on the charges they were convicted on.

    @10ish, John Pieret:

    If the suckers will rat on him, the government could possibly go after him as a co-conspirator, depending on his level of involvement with their scheme. A fraud charge probably wouldn’t work unless he charged them for his “services,” but, again they’d have to testify against him.

    Is there any manner of “incitement to defraud” type law on the books that might apply that you can think of off hand? It seems like telling someone “You can legally walk into any bank vault and carry out whatever cash you find as long as you wrap it in an American flag with a gold fringe” (which ISN’T true) ought to be criminally actionable.

    Though they’re unlikely to, would the trio be able to sue the advisor for legal malpractice over the bad advice? Or could the sheer unwinnability of their defense preclude that, even though their conduct in light of the bad advice is likely to have exacerbated their sentence?

    The “advisor” seems a bigger social nuisance than these clowns.

  • Trebuchet

    “And a hoochie-koochie man, Spelled M A N.”

    In this case it should probably be “Hoochie-koochie:MAN”.