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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, November 21, 2016

Illinois Man's Prison Sentence Enhanced for Obstructive Conduct Related to "Sovereign Citizen" Protests

 

Donald S. Boyce, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that Eric J. Simpson, 48, of Sauget, Illinois, was sentenced, on November 17, 2016, to 78 months in federal prison for distribution of crack cocaine.

On June 17, 2015, the Grand Jury returned an Indictment charging Simpson with distributing cocaine. Records filed in court established that beginning in mid-February through mid-March, Agents with the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives recorded Simpson dealing drugs to a confidential informant (CI) six times. During this period, Simpson sold 80.1 grams of crack cocaine to the CI while openly talking about using firearms. Subsequently, agents executed a federal search warrant at Simpson’s home, where they seized several loaded firearms, ammunition and drugs. Evidence revealed that after Simpson was released from custody on March 14, 2015, he immediately threatened the CI.

Prior to sentencing, Simpson filed numerous frivolous motions challenging the Court’s jurisdiction, commonly referred to as "sovereign citizen" pleadings. He was unable to work with three different lawyers and evidence discussed in Court established that he sent harassing communications to the prosecutor and judge. That conduct caused repeated delays in his sentencing and led to his incarceration after his bond was revoked on September 7, 2016.

At sentencing, the Court found that Simpson had engaged in repeated acts of obstructive conduct that unnecessarily interfered with the prosecution of his case including falsely accusing his attorneys of malfeasance, filing frivolous pleadings and caused harassing mailings to be sent to the prosecutor and to the Court. Consequently, Simpson’s request for acceptance of responsibility was denied and a sentencing enhancement for obstructing justice was applied. Simpson was sentenced to 78 months imprisonment, a $1,000 fine, a $100 Special Assessment, and 3 years of supervised release.

The investigation was conducted by agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft.

Updated November 21, 2016