Manch­ester man tried to claim im­mu­nity as a ‘sov­er­eign cit­i­zen’

Hartford Courant - - Connecticut - By David Owens [email protected]

HARTFORD – A Manch­ester man who reg­u­larly dis­rupted his first-de­gree sex­ual as­sault trial was calm Fri­day morn­ing as he learned he would be head­ing to prison for 20 years.

Don­ald Daniels, 27, was con­victed in Oc­to­ber of three counts of first-de­gree sex­ual as­sault for the gun­point rape of a woman in East Hartford. Daniels had known the woman for about 10 years.

Last month,

Daniels told


Su­pe­rior Court

Judge Frank

M. D’Addabbo

Jr. that he wanted to rep­re­sent him­self at the sen­tenc­ing hear­ing and have his trial at­tor­ney, Jack Franck­ling, re­moved from his case.

The judge agreed, but kept Franck­ling on as standby coun­sel.

It quickly be­came clear on Fri­day why Daniels wanted to rep­re­sent him­self. He had filed mo­tions ar­gu­ing he was a “sov­er­eign cit­i­zen” and there­fore not sub­ject to the ju­ris­dic­tion of the court or of the law. He ar­gued he was “a man, crea­ture of na­ture and tran­sient form.”

The judge told Daniels he’d read his mo­tion and seen sim­i­lar mo­tions over the years. He then told Daniels he dis­agreed with him and in­tended to sen­tence him.

Daniels’ vic­tim told the judge the rape had ru­ined her life, af­fected her men­tally and caused her to lose two jobs. “I’m just ready for this to be over,” she said.

Pros­e­cu­tor An­thony Bochic­chio told the judge that Daniels is dan­ger­ous, his crime was se­ri­ous and he did not think there was much chance of re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing him. He said he thought Daniels’ dis­rup­tions dur­ing the trial were de­lib­er­ate at­tempts to get a mis­trial when he saw the trial was not go­ing his way.

Daniels calmly told the judge that he was an­gry dur­ing his trial be­cause his lawyer was not do­ing what he wanted him to do.

“I’m still go­ing to main­tain my in­no­cence be­cause I didn’t do it,” he said.

Daniels faced up to 20 years in prison for the con­vic­tions and D’Addabbo sen­tenced him to all 20.

“You have a lack of re­spect for other peo­ple, a lack of re­spect for the law,” the judge told Daniels, adding a pri­mary con­cern was pro­tect­ing so­ci­ety.

The judge called Daniels’ crimes heinous, de­praved and de­mor­al­iz­ing.

“You be­lieve, in the court’s eye, you can ob­tain what you want, when you want and use any means to get it,” D’Addabbo said.

He then sen­tenced Daniels and or­dered him to regis­ter as a sex of­fender upon his re­lease.

Sov­er­eign ci­ti­zens are antigov­ern­ment ex­trem­ists who be­lieve that even though they phys­i­cally live in the U.S., they are sep­a­rate or “sov­er­eign” from the United States, ac­cord­ing to the FBI. They be­lieve they don’t have to an­swer to any gov­ern­ment author­ity, in­clud­ing courts, tax­ing en­ti­ties, mo­tor ve­hi­cle de­part­ments or law en­force­ment.


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