News and Press Releases

Sovereign Citizen Convicted on Gun Charge

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 9, 2014

ATLANTA - Jermaine Eric Gibson has been convicted by a federal jury of unlawfully possessing a firearm as a convicted felon, in connection with his illegal occupation of a foreclosed property as a “sovereign citizen.” 

“Sovereign citizens do not believe that laws apply to them except when it is to their benefit,” said United States Attorney Sally Quillian Yates.  “This conviction demonstrates that our laws do apply to everyone.  If you violate the law, you will be prosecuted.”

J. Britt Johnson, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Atlanta Field Office, stated: “Individuals and even groups who feel that our laws don’t apply to them can pose a more significant risk to law enforcement, particularly when they illegally arm themselves.  The conviction in federal court of Mr. Gibson, a self-described sovereign citizen, is a clear reminder that he is not above the law.”

According to United States Attorney Yates, the charges and other information presented in court: In March 2013, Jermaine Gibson, a self-professed sovereign citizen, moved into a foreclosed home located in an upscale, gated community in Lithonia, Ga.  The home, however, was under contract to be sold, and the Gibson was not the buyer.  Gibson declared ownership of the property after he filed a deed in DeKalb County, Ga., in which he claimed that he had deeded the home to himself.  After he moved into the residence, he changed the locks on the doors and posted a warning to real estate agents to stay off the property. 

While Gibson was in the home, several people observed long-barreled guns at that residence.  Efforts to convince Gibson to vacate the property failed.  The real estate agent called the police to the residence, but was told that the matter was a civil matter.  The homebuyer went to the residence and spoke to Gibson.  When asked to leave because the homebuyer would be closing soon, Gibson refused to leave.  Gibson told the homebuyer that someone lied to her because she would not be moving into that home. 

The home was sold in April 2013, but the new buyer could not move into her home because Gibson still remained in the home.  The bank and the homeowner joined together to file paperwork in DeKalb County to have Gibson evicted.  In the meantime, warrants were obtained in DeKalb County for Gibson’s arrest.

On May 2, 2013, Gibson, 36, of Atlanta, Ga., was arrested and a search warrant was executed at the residence.  During the search, officers found a .38 Smith and Wesson revolver in Gibson's bed.  Because Gibson is a convicted felon, he cannot legally possess a firearm.

During the trial, agents testified that in a post-arrest interview, Gibson declared that the laws of the government do not apply to him.  He advised further that he possessed the handgun for protection.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 29, 2014, at 10:30 a.m. before United States District Judge Thomas W. Thrash.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Assistant United States Attorney Tracia  King is prosecuting the case.

For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016.  The Internet address for the home page for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia Atlanta Division is http://www.justice.gov/usao/gan/.

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