By JJ MacNab | October 29, 2008
Or in Danny Riley’s case, I guessÂ that would be the pipe bombs calling.
The final Brown supporter was sentenced yesterday to what is practically a life sentence — 36 years.Â Even if DannyÂ decided to becomeÂ a model prisoner and qualified for the maximumÂ amount of time off for good behavior, he wouldn’t be free until he’s 72 years old.Â Â Â But that’s probably not a realistic assumption. Â Judging from his comments yesterday on what he’s beenÂ up to in prison, Danny’s not likely to qualify to have his time reduced any time soon and may indeed be looking at further criminal charges.Â
But more on that later…
Prior to the hearingsÂ
Since theÂ Freestaters had been planningÂ a disruption at the front door of the courthouse at 9:00 am, I arrived bright and early yesterday toÂ watch theÂ festivities. Â Alas, only two of them were there at that time and they didn’t appear to beÂ doing anything but standingÂ in front of the building taking pictures (I have no idea why — haveÂ I mentioned that it’s an ugly building???),Â so I kicked back and waited for the 10:00 am competency hearing to begin.
The Competency HearingÂ
OfÂ the four defendants, Danny appears the most changed by prison.Â He’s a little leaner, and his face has a darker, meanerÂ edge to it than he had in his 2007 pro-Brown videos.Â In an apparent protest to the day’s proceedings, he wore all of his prison clothes (white t-shirt, tan pajamas) inside out.Â His legs remained shackled throughout the morning’s events.Â
Dr. Christine Scronce was the only witness in the hearing and she testified that she has worked for the Bureau of PrisonsÂ for 16 years, has preparedÂ more than 600Â evaluations, and has testified more than 70 times.Â Â Â Â As she took the stand, Danny and the judge had their first falling out:
Judge:Â Mr. Riley, can you hear the witness?
Danny:Â When you refer to Mr. Riley, are you referring to me?
Judge:Â Mr. Riley, don’t start with me.Â
[Danny mumbles for a couple of minutes about how his name isn't spelled in all capital letters, and that the judge is intentionally confusing Danny Riley with DANNY RILEY when he says the words "Mr. Riley." Apparently, Mr. Riley and MR. RILEYÂ sound different to a tax denier...]
Judge:Â Â Mr. Riley, behave.
Danny:Â No, Judge. You behave.
[That earned Danny a five-minute timeout.Â As he was escorted out, a voice rang out from the audience.]
Joe Haas:Â Hi Dan.
Danny: Â Hi Joe.Â
[Danny was brought back in a few minutes later.]
Danny: I am not the defendant.
Judge:Â Let’s continue with this witness.Â
Danny spent 30 days in the mental healthÂ unit at a nearby federal prison where he was interviewed, observed, but refused to take part in any psych testing.
The psychologist wasÂ an absolute pro atÂ stripping the absurd and extreme from her descriptions of Danny’s situation.
Dr:Â Â He has a lot of political ideas that are not in the mainstream.
Translation:Â The guy is aÂ kook.
Dr:Â I have seen the redemption and sovereign citizen arguments before, andÂ didn’t see anything here that couldn’t be attributed to those groups.
Translation:Â He’s an unoriginal kook.
Dr: Â His ideas about his [criminal] defense are not mainstream, but they are consistent with his subculture.
Translation:Â Â It’sÂ common forÂ kooks toÂ sabotage their own defense at trial.
Â Dr: Â It’s fairly common in our setting to run across these things.
Translation:Â WeÂ get aÂ ton of kooks in prison.
You get the idea.
This witness reached three interestingÂ conclusions:Â
- Danny is competent to stand trial, which wasn’t particularly surprising,
- Danny has traits associated with Narcissistic Personality Disorder; and
- DannyÂ is not delusional because he has doubts thatÂ hisÂ ”sub-culture” beliefs would actually work.Â In his interviews, Danny would say things like, “If this redemption process works, it would be a massive blow” and would preface his statements with “I believe.”Â According to her testimony, truly delusional people simply don’t doubt theirÂ delusions.Â
As some of you know, I’ve been travelling all around the country (usually to places that are much warmer thanÂ New Hampshire,Â mind you) attendingÂ tax denier criminal trials as research forÂ a book.Â Â Since tax deniers are an odd lot, a pretty high percentage of the cases I monitor involve competency hearings.Â In all but one case so far, the defendants have been found competent to stand trial, and in every case where I have had access to information resulting from the psych evaluation, the results have been the same.Â People with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder seem to beÂ drawn to tax denier scams like moths to a flame.
Â The Sentencing Hearing
At the beginning of this hearing, Danny asserted that the defense attorney was representing DANNY RILEY, not Danny Riley.
Neither the prosecutor nor DANNY objected to the pre-sentencing report prepared by the probation officer which established the federal sentencing guideline range of 438 to 457 months in prison.Â The prosecutor simply asked for the high end of the range.
Danny stood up to deliver his allocution, a personal statement that defendants can make to explain their actions prior to the sentence being imposed.Â Most prisoners use this time to attempt damage control andÂ express contrition.
For the next half hour or so, Danny recited a long list of redemption scheme catchphrases that were incomprehensible to the point of absurdityÂ – “I am here as a living Christian man” — “I am not a legal fiction” — “I am not the defendant” — “the court is trying to raidÂ my trust account” — “I copyrighted my name and you owe my $500,000.”
To translate for those of you who don’t speak “redemption,” Danny believes that the US Treasury set up a massive, super- secret account in his name the day he was born.Â The name on that account is DANIEL RILEYÂ (he thinks that’sÂ why his birth certificate used all capital letters, ignoring the fact that mainframe computers 40+ years ago always used capital letters) and the trust account number is his SSN.
When Danny was indicted,Â heÂ believes that the grand jury returned “A True Bill” and that if he can just pay that bill off (kind of like paying off a Macy’s credit card balance),Â the court will let him walk free.Â The idea that the word “bill” can have more than one meaning is apparently not clear to Danny, which is kind of ironic consideringÂ it’s also his brother’s name.Â To pay thatÂ bill off, he’s been trying to access the funds in that super secret Treasury account set up in his name.Â Â Since the court won’t tell him what the amount of the bill is for his criminal charges, he figured that $20,000,000 should just about cover it, so he’s authorized the Treasury to cut a big fat check to the court to bring his balance to $0.Â Furthermore, since he filed a copyright on his name, every time the judge uses that name, the Judge owes him $500,000.
Danny thinks that if he can just say the right combination of magical words, the Judge will gasp at his obvious knowledge of how things *really* work behind the scenes, and will have no choice but to let him go.Â But if he fails to get the words just right, theÂ court will effectively “raid his Treasury account” and keep all those millions for themselves.Â Danny called the theft of his secret Treasury account a “racket”.
His half hour speech was depressing.Â He was focusing so intensely on getting the magic words right that he would repeat himself with slightly different word choices.
When his efforts didn’t pay off, he started to threaten the judge.
Danny:Â If anyone is sentenced today, it should be you.Â [Pointing at the judge.]Â
Danny:Â I do not consent to going to jail for the defendant, is that clear?
Danny:Â An administrative judgment has been found against you, Judge Singal, which you’ll find out about later today.
Danny: I’m willing to give you an offer of immunity.Â After that, the IRS will come after you.Â You’re sitting up there all nice and pretty on your perch, but it’s coming.Â Your authority comes from the barrel of a gun, not from any law.
Danny:Â You know there will be bonds issued when this case is over.Â I’m pretty sure you know this.
He then told the Judge that his honor will be receiving a $50,000,000 bill from Danny shortly.
Danny believes that if he accuses a government official of something and that official doesn’t respond,Â thatÂ such silence is a “declaration of confession.” It would appear from his diatribe that Danny has been engaging in a “common law court” scheme to convict the judge, the two prosecutors, and the clerk of the court.Â I certainly hope the Marshals will take this new threatÂ quite seriously, since the “common law court” scheme was an invention of the white supremacist groups of the 1980s with a desired end result being to find your government enemies guilty of treason and subject them to the death penalty.
Throughout his redemption speech, Danny was addressing all of his remarks to theÂ judge.Â Â Â As his “bill” theory dipped deeper and deeper into the gibberish zone, the freestaters around me had blank looks on their faces.Â It was only when Danny made a few clearer anti-authority comments that they seemed to have any idea what was going on.Â
Danny:Â I want to point out that I’m wearing shackles and I am surrounded by guards who could jump me at any time, if the judge orders it.
Audience:Â [Vigorous nodding of heads up and down.]
Danny:Â There has been no 1099 in this case.Â There is no true bill.Â I issued $20,000,000 to the court.
Both Danny and the Judge ended with interesting statements.
Danny [in explaining his speech]:Â I’m not saying this stuff to defend myself.Â I’m not the defendant.Â I’m sayingÂ it to educate everyone in this room.
Judge [in explaining his sentence]:Â It’s unfortunate that his friendsÂ have advised him to jump off a cliff.Â If he had turned around, he’d see that they weren’t jumping with him.
And so, the Judge sentenced Danny to 36 years in prison followed by five years of supervised release.Â If Danny has indeed become involved in a common law court to punish the judge, he may never leave prison again.
As the judge finished reading the sentence, Danny sat quietly.Â He then leaned forward and deliveredÂ hisÂ final statement of gibberish:
Danny:Â I accept that for value, and return it for value.
Sad.Â Just sad.Â