Yesterday's sentencing of 67-year-old Montana Freeman co-founder Daniel Petersen proves that despite the Tea Party's efforts to usurp the throne, no fringe political movement is as consistent a source of crazy as the "Patriot" movement.
A rough depiction of the Freeman compound after the federal government tread all over it.
In the first test of a new federal law, Petersen was found guilty of filing a false financial lien against local U.S. District Court judge John Coughenour. It was Coughenour who ordered Petersen to jail back in the mid-nineties after his group declared their plot of Montana ranch land sovereign soil and began harassing anyone who didn't accept their currency.
For that, Petersen concocted an elaborate plan to exact revenge. So, how exactly would he do it?Petersen began telling his fellow inmates that he'd won a lawsuit against the federal government for "unlawful confinement." Of course, Coughenour and two other federal judges were in Petersen's estimation financially liable. So, he began filing to have liens placed on their personal property.
There was one tiny flaw Petersen's plan: the Common Law Court of Justus Township, the place where he said this legal action occurred, doesn't actually exist. But that didn't stop him from claiming that he'd been awarded $100 trillion in damages.
When the liens failed to produce the desired result, Petersen tried to put up a bounty for anyone who could deliver the judges to Minnesota, where he could presumably confront them over their failure to pay up.
Prison officials repeatedly warned Petersen that the scheme was illegal, but he persisted. And yesterday a federal judge tacked on an additional 8 years to his sentence. That judge will no doubt be added to Petersen's growing shit-list.