Love Thomas Wright Cooper Sentenced in U.S. District Cour
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Billings, on June 1, 2011, before Senior U.S. District Judge Jack D. Shanstrom, LOVE THOMAS WRIGHT COOPER, a 31-year-old resident of Emigrant, appeared for sentencing. COOPER was sentenced to a term of:
Prison: 80 months
Special Assessment: $100
Supervised Release: 3 years
COOPER was sentenced after a federal district court trial in which he was found guilty of being a felon-in-possession of a firearm. Assistant U.S. Attorney Bryan R. Whittaker prosecuted the case for the United States.
At trial, the following evidence and testimony was presented to the jury.
On March 6, 2010, a Park County Sheriff's deputy conducted a traffic stop of COOPER's vehicle for speeding. COOPER was observed by radar traveling 80 MPH in a 65 MPH zone. He was driving an unregistered vehicle with a fictitious license plate, no insurance, and a revoked driver's license. When the deputy approached the driver's door, COOPER, the only individual in the vehicle, only slightly lowered the window. COOPER refused to cooperate with the deputy and remained in the pickup truck talking to an unknown individual on his cell phone. After some time, and after repeated requests by deputies to do so, COOPER finally exited the vehicle.
When deputies patted-down COOPER's person, they discovered a loaded Walther pistol in a holster on his waist. After being taken into custody, and during a vehicle inventory search, a loaded Ruger pistol was found on the rear passenger floorboard of the vehicle being driven by COOPER.
On March 30, 2000, COOPER had been convicted of unlawful wounding in the Commonwealth of Virginia and as a result was prohibited from possessing firearms.
Testimony at trial revealed that COOPER considered himself a Sovereign Citizen and not a citizen of the United States - therefore, COOPER believed he did not have to follow the laws of the United States.
In response to the Court's sentencing of COOPER, U.S. Attorney Michael W. Cotter for the District of Montana said, "The cooperative efforts of all of the law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation of Mr. Cooper are to be commended. Today's sentence sends a clear message to all citizens that no one is above the laws of this country - including Mr. Cooper."
Because there is no parole in the federal system, the "truth in sentencing" guidelines mandate that COOPER will likely serve all of the time imposed by the court. In the federal system, COOPER does have the opportunity to earn a sentence reduction for "good behavior." However, this reduction will not exceed 15% of the overall sentence.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Park County Sheriff's Office, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Montana Division of Criminal Investigations and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.