A Necedah man who claimed he was not subject to state and federal laws after he was charged in 2011 with attempted bank fraud will spend 90 days in the Juneau County jail.
John A. Glavin, 42, must also pay restitution of $44,737 to The Necedah Bank and refrain from filing more “sovereign citizen” paperwork in any court as a condition of three-years of probation.
“The sovereign citizen theory is foolish,” Juneau County Circuit Judge Paul Curran said at sentencing Wednesday. “It is legal nonsense and frivolous.”
Among other things, members of the sovereign citizen movement claim they are only accountable to natural law.
In a deal with prosecution last November, Glavin entered a no-contest Alford plea to a single felony charge of transferring the personal property of another stemming from a $95,137 loan in 2008 from The Bank of Necedah.
In an Alford plea a defendant maintains innocence but concedes that evidence exists for a jury to find him guilty.
Three other charges against Glavin were dismissed in the plea deal, including the most serious of the four original charges against him — fraud against a financial institution.
In a 10-minute statement before sentencing Glavin, who has 11 children, told the court that the “ordeal” had taken an “emotional toll” on him and his family, that he had every intention of working with bank officials to repay all the money he owes and that he bore no ill will toward them.
“…In no way, shape or form did I or would I attempt to commit any criminal act of any kind,” Glavin said.
Glavin did not address the political issues that characterized other court appearances and a series of briefs he filed in the case in which he claimed that he was not subject to the jurisdiction of the court.
“I am not a 14th Amendment citizen of the municipal corporation called the UNITED STATES [sic],” Glavin wrote in a court filing.
In a 2011 bulletin issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Counterterrorism Analysis Section – “Sovereign Citizens A Growing Domestic Threat to Law Enforcement” -- the FBI labeled sovereign citizen extremists a decades-old “domestic terrorist movement” whose mostly peaceful members have included a few violent criminals such as Terry Nichols, who helped plan the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people.
Southworth said that Glavin was a fundamentally decent man with some unconventional beliefs who posed no threat to society.
But, Southworth said, Glavin had used desperate measures to escape a financial predicament and in so doing threatened the viability of a small bank whose prosperity is vital to the Necedah community.
“This is not BMO Harris or US Bank or Citibank with billions in assets,” Southworth said.
Curran told Glavin before sentencing that his political beliefs were none of the court’s business. “However, the sovereign citizen doctrine, when it’s filed in court briefs, is my business,” Curran said.
Curran pointed to a series of civil suits and small claims cases filed against Glavin in recent years by other institutions in which Glavin had also advanced sovereign citizen claims, including several suits ultimately rejected as “nonsense” by a federal judge.
“And yet you pursued it again in this case,” Curran said, adding that fidelity to a cause is often a good thing. “But fidelity to nonsense is no virtue.”
According to the criminal complaint, Glavin used six vehicles, including snowmobiles and a motorcycle, as collateral to obtain the loan and then attempted to transfer ownership of two of the vehicles before the loan was repaid, which violated terms of the loan agreement.
When arrested in October 2011 on a town of Germantown road driving an SUV bearing an invalid license plate that displayed the word “exempt,” Glavin told officers he was an “American National” and that they had no jurisdiction over him.
The crime Glavin was convicted of carried possible prison time of six years and a fine of $10,000. He will receive credit for two days in jail and was also granted work-release privileges.
847-7341, ext. 237