By JJ MacNab | October 3, 2009
Yesterday, â€œElaine Alice: of the Family Brown, spelled in upper case and lower case lettersâ€ was sentenced to 35 years in federal prison.
Keep in mind that thatâ€™s 35 years in addition to the 63-month sentence from the earlier, income tax-related charges.Â Even if sheâ€™s a model prisoner, and earns the maximum amount of â€œtime off for good behavior,â€ the earliest she can ever hope to see a world without bars and guards is January 31, 2042, at which time sheâ€™ll be two weeks shy of her 101st birthday. Â She’ll likely be housed in a maximum security facility for women, in their “administrative” unit to ensure that she doesn’t try to retaliate against government employees by filing phony liens and other such sovereign citizen silliness.
Had she accepted the plea agreement offered to her when she first decided to flee herÂ income tax trial in 2007, her estimated release date would have been October 30, 2009, just a few weeks from today. Â Much of that time would have been spent in a minimum security campÂ Ã Â la Martha Stewart, with an early release to a half-way house.
Of course, had she never met Ed Brown, sheâ€™d be a wealthy and successful professional with a long and prosperous retirement ahead of her, free from the notion of a life behind bars, with a jelly cupboard full of stuff like jelly, rather than bombs and explosives.
During yesterdayâ€™s sentencing hearing, however, Elaine blamed everyone but Ed and herself.Â It was the courtâ€™s fault for not recognizing that while ELAINE BROWN had been convicted, â€œElaine Alice: of the family Brownâ€ had not.Â It was the local pressâ€™ fault for making her and Ed look like crooks, thus stunting their mission to spread the religion of tax denying on a nationwide scale. Â It was the government’s fault for daring to impose those evil income taxes.
When Elaine was escorted into the courtroom at 9 am, she looked haggard, old, and hardened.Â She was wearingÂ navy blue deck shoes andÂ a long-sleeved, white shirt under khaki prison scrubs.Â Her legs were shackled, which caused her to amble awkwardly when she walked.
For the first several minutes of the hearing, the defense counsel entered his objections to the pre-sentencing report into the record. Â According to the defense attorney, Elaine didnâ€™t assemble the many pipe bombs and explosive devices around the Plainfield house, and of all of the dozens of guns found at the residence, only one belonged to her for the purpose of self defense.
The judge didnâ€™t buy it. Â He pointed out that Elaine was very much aware of the bombs and guns in her home, and that she had â€œconstructive possessionâ€ of the firearms.Â They were everywhere, all she had to do was pick one up and use it.Â Furthermore, it was her income and savings that financed the purchase of the guns, explosives, and bomb parts.
In July, 2009, Elaine had been convicted by a jury on six felony counts, one of which had a minimum sentence of 360 months in federal prison attached to it.Â According to the presentencing report prepared by a Bureau of Prisons probation officer, the federal sentencing guidelines for these six counts resulted Â in a sentencing range of 495 to 528 months.Â The defense attorney requested a sentence of 361 months, and the prosecutors endorsed the recommended range from the report.
When it was the federal prosecutorâ€™s time to speak, he gave an eloquent monologue. He reminded the court that while Elaine may have been claiming her acts were in self-defense, to anyone grounded in the real world, her acts were obviously â€œaggressive conductâ€, and pointed out that giving her a below-guideline sentence, even if she was highly unlikely to outlive that lower sentence, would send a message to future wingnuts and kooks that engaging in an armed standoff with lethal bombs and explosives was somehow justifiable self-defense.
OK, the prosecutor didnâ€™t actually say “wingnuts and kooks,” but anyone who listened to Ed and Elaine rant on their daily radio show about the worldwide Zionist Jesuit Illuminati conspiracy behind their tax charges or the odd teachings of the guru who called himself The Body of the Lord, understood that that’s who the prosecutor was referring to when he euphemistically said â€œothers.â€
He pointed out that, in Elaineâ€™s mind, since no one was hurt in the standoff and arrest, there was no harm done.Â While no one may Â have been hurt, he continued, that was only because the Marshals were patient and professional.Â He paraphrased Elaineâ€™s argument as, â€œPlease be compassionate because I didnâ€™t have the opportunity to kill anyone.â€
Good stuff, that.
He then moved on to the theme of the day.Â Elaine was an odd mix; an educated, polite, matronly woman who knowingly engaged in a violent, and bomb-filled standoff.Â She lived in a home that was a â€œfortressâ€ even prior to her arrest.
She was carrying a 9 mm Glock pistol at the time of her arrest that was equipped with a large capacity magazine. Â This meant that she was capable of firing 17 hollow-point rounds before reloading.Â A second, loaded, high-capacity magazine was stored in her fanny pack.Â She slept in a bedroom that had 22 pipe bombs, explosive devices, guns, and ammunition side by side with her stuffed animals. Â She slept a few feet away from night-vision goggles, a shotgun, a 50 caliber rifle, his and her Scott Air packs, Kevlar helmets, and more. Â There were explosive devices in her laundry room and jelly cupboard.
Prosecutor:Â This was a house you walk into and say â€œHoly Expletive Deleted.â€
According to the prosecutor, Elaine acted as a mother-like figure to 21-year old Jason Gerhard, which resulted in the young man throwing away his life.Â (Jason was recently sentenced to 20 years in federal prison as a result of his association with the Browns.)
Throughout all of the oral arguments, Elaine sat still.Â Her legs were crossed, her right hand lay limp on the chair arm, and her left hand supported her chin, covering her mouth.Â She stared fixedly at a piece of paper on the table in front of her, never looking up, and rarely reacting to anything that was said about her.
When the prosecutor talked about her willingness to kill US Marshals, she picked at her fingernails.Â When he mentioned her vulgar outbursts following her arrest, she pursed her mouth slightly.Â Otherwise, nothing.
Elaineâ€™s lawyer answered by pointing out that she had worked hard for 65 years without any criminal record, and had put herself through dental school at age 30 with the help of a scholarship and loans.Â She and Ed had committed no â€œovert acts of aggressionâ€ and had never left the property once the standoff started.
Then it was Elaineâ€™s turn to speak.
Elaine:Â My name is Elaine Alice of the family Brown spelled in upper and lower case letters.
She then followed with the typical UCC nonsense that had trickled into the court docket since her arrest two years earlier.Â She claimed that she and Ed chose to go down the tax denying path because they wanted to “awaken the public to the corrupt and unlawful practices of the US government.”
Elaine:Â We didnâ€™t submit to the courts because Moses did not submit to Pharaoh, and the founding fathers did not submit to King George.
She then referred to the standoff as an act of â€œcivil disobedienceâ€, cited the New Hampshire Constitution right to revolution, and the New Hampshire state motto of Live Free or Die. Â Â She recited the standard Edmund Burke quote (â€œThe only thing necessary for the triumph ofÂ evil is for good men to do nothingâ€) and complained that her patriotic efforts had all been thwarted by a local New Hampshire reporter.
Elaine:Â Those Americans who do something are ridiculed and vilified.
She ended with a bitter promise:
Elaine:Â I will continue to expose the fraud from prison.Â I will always resist.
Two supporters clapped loudly at her grand finale.Â One (the financial analyst from Rhode Island who testified during the trial) was escorted out of the courtroom, and the other left voluntarily.
The judgeâ€™s ruling was particularly interesting.Â He talked about the difficulty in reconciling the fact that someone who appeared so normal on the surface had committed such serious crimes.Â On one hand, Elaine was a â€œperson next door,â€ and on the other, she was promising to send US Marshals home in body bags.
The Judge disagreed with Elaineâ€™s characterization of her acts as civil disobedience and contrasted her acts to those of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr..
Judge:Â The conduct engaged in by Mrs. Brown was purely criminal.Â She wanted to kill without trial, attorneys, due process, or the protection of the law.Â She wanted the immediate execution of law enforcement officers who were trying to enforce a warrant.
Judge:Â Itâ€™s difficult to imagine a person who sleeps near both stuffed animals and explosive devices.
Judge:Â She fully understood what she intended to do, and in the end, the US Marshals gave her more consideration than she gave them.
Judge:Â When Mrs. Brown was talking earlier, she excused herself politely when she paused for a drink of water, but gave no excuses for her crimes.
The judge then sentenced Elaine to 420 months, considerably less time than the federal sentencing guideline range.
Throughout the judgeâ€™s monologue, Elaine sat emotionless.Â She stared at and straightened the piece of paper that contained the text of her final speech, and looked up at the ceiling once.Â When the judge asked her if she understood that she had a right to appeal, she answered yes so quietly and meekly, I could barely hear her.
A few mornings ago, and without prior warning, Ed Brown was whisked away to a Massachusetts prison for a 30-day psychiatric evaluation. Â This means that Ed and Elaine had little or no opportunity to say goodbye, and they will likely never see each other again.
Ed, Elaine, Danny, Jason, Reno, Bob, and so many others – all in prison because they bought into a fairly ridiculous and obvious scam. Â Instead of working towards the reduction or elimination of the federal income tax, Ed and Elaine tried to argue that there were no income tax laws that applied to them. Â Instead of engaging in real civil disobedience and just refusing to pay taxes, they maintained a smirking facade of “if you just show us the law, we’ll cut you a check today.” Â And instead of going to prison when they were shown the law during their first criminal trial, they escalated the situation to a nine-month standoff, armed to teeth, just itching to murder anyone who tried to arrest Â them.
What a freakin’ waste.
- Throughout the hearing, Elaineâ€™s defense attorney called her Dr. Brown.Â Everyone else called her Mrs. Brown.
- The government informed the Judge that Danny Riley (aka â€œDogwalkerâ€ in my earlier blog entries) had participated extensively in the prosecution of the Browns and, as a result, the DOJ would be requesting a reduced sentence on his behalf on a later date.Â This gave the Judge some flexibility in choosing a sentence for Elaine that was lower than the 36-year sentence heâ€™d doled out to Danny.
- The courtroom was fairly full, a mishmash of press, supporters, and government employees.
- Edâ€™s sentencing will realistically take place this winter.Â Winter… in New Hampshire.Â Oh joy.