Friday, October 28, 2011

State Of Alaska Drops All Charges Against The Schaeffer Cox Five, Federal Charges Remain In Effect: Militia Leader Norm Olson Says "Great News"

Most of the state charges against Alaska militia leader Schaeffer Cox and his four cohorts looked flimsy and politically motivated at best, and on October 28th, 2011, Assistant District Attorney Dwayne McConnell agreed, announcing the dismissal of all state charges against them with prejudice, meaning they cannot be refiled. The decision was prompted by an October 17th ruling by Judge David Stewart that audio and video recordings made during a six-month FBI investigation into Cox and his Alaska Peacemaker's Militia cohorts are not admissible because they were made without a search warrant, and therefore violate the Alaska Constitution. One FBI informant, Gerald Olson, who was working to have criminal charges reduced, joined Cox's group, while a second informant, William Fulton in Anchorage, also participated. The investigation lasted more than six months and compiled more than 100 hours of recordings.

However, the federal charges are unaffected and unlikely to be dropped because the suppression of the secret recordings in state court does not affect the federal case, since the U.S. Constitution does not protect privacy rights as broadly as the Alaska Constitution. Nevertheless, state prosecutors intend to help federal authorities in their case. The federal trial date is still set for February 6th, 2012 in Anchorage, although in September, defense lawyers asked for the trial to be moved to Fairbanks because of cultural differences between Alaska’s largest and second-largest cities and the expense of transporting witnesses.

Alaska Citizens Militia leader Norm Olson posted his reaction in the form of a comment to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, reformatted for readability:

normolson wrote on Friday, Oct 28 at 01:25 PM:
Great News. My thought is that the federal weapons charges will be dropped quickly based on the fact that the weapons were found during a search based on evidence that has been thrown out. Therefore, the "fruits" of that evidence, e.g. the weapons, were found during an ILLEGAL search!

The federales may try to kidnap Schaeffer, taking him to the big federal lockup in Colorado. The Governor then will be under pressure (a great deal, hopefully) to prevent extradition.

BTW, Since the charges are dropped, Schaeffer should be released on bail shortly. If the feds are going to move on this, it will be quickly.

Norm Olson

The big lockup in Colorado is most likely the supermax facility in Florence, where Matt Hale has been buried for a 40-year sentence after conviction on similar charges. Here's the list of the outstanding federal charges (after the jump):



-- Lonnie Vernon:
---- One count Threatening Murder of Family Member of United States Judge
---- One count Threatening Murder of United States Judge
---- One count Conspiracy to Murder Federal Officials
---- One count Conspiracy to Possess Unregistered Firearm and Destructive Device
---- One count Possession of Silencer
---- One count Possession of Unregistered Machine Gun
---- One count Possession of Machine Gun
---- One count Silenced Firearm Used In Furtherance of a Crime of Violence
---- One count Conspiracy to Possess Unregistered Silencers and Destructive Devices

-- Karen Vernon:
---- One count Threatening Murder of Family Member of United States Judge.
---- One count Threatening Murder of United States Judge.
---- One count Conspiracy to Murder Federal Officials
---- One count Conspiracy to Possess Unregistered Firearm and Destructive Device

-- Schaeffer Cox:
---- One count Conspiracy to Possess Unregistered Silencers and Destructive Devices
---- One count Possession of Unregistered Destructive Devices
---- One count Possession of Unregistered Silencer
---- One count Possession of an Unregistered Machine Gun
---- One count Possession of Machine Gun
---- One count Making of a Silencer

-- Coleman Barney:
---- One count Conspiracy to Possess Unregistered Silencers and Destructive Devices
---- One count Possession of Unregistered Destructive Devices

Neither Michael Anderson nor Rachel Barney were indicted by the Federal Grand Jury; they face no Federal charges. In a separate but related case, U.S. District Court Judge Lonny R. Suko issued an order last month to sell Salcha property and a house belonging to Lonnie and Karen Vernon to pay off tax debts to the Fairbanks North Star Borough and IRS. The 4.5-acre parcel and 1,564-square-foot home are appraised by the Fairbanks North Star Borough at $189,360. After costs associated with the sale are recovered, money will be paid back first to settle tax debts with the borough, then to the federal government. Foreclosure notices issued by the borough in March listed Karen Vernon with a debt of $2,718. The Vernons have a combined federal tax debt of nearly $180,000, plus interest and penalties.

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