DENVER — Bruce Doucette, a leading figure in “sovereign” ideology, was sentenced to 38 years in the Colorado Department of Corrections on Tuesday, May 22.
The 57-year-old Doucette faced 34 charges including conspiracy, pattern of racketeering, 15 counts of attempting to influence a public servant, seven counts of extortion, criminal impersonation, retaliation against a judge, tax evasion and more. A jury found him guilty March 9.
He underwent a two-week trial in Denver earlier this year, during which he refused outside counsel and cross-examined the state’s witnesses with his own interpretations of the Constitution — most of which weren’t accepted by the judge or the jury.
At his sentencing hearing, Doucette reportedly wore what looked like a pair of shooting glasses atop his green jumpsuit and reportedly answered, “I do not consent,” to Judge Michael Spear’s questions.
“Everything I did was to remove the corruption from this government and these courts,” Doucette declared, though his voice was shaky. “May Yahweh have mercy on your souls when he judges you.”
By contrast, attorney Robert Shapiro, the state’s leading prosecutor, spoke at length, urging the judge to penalize Doucette with 45 years in prison with such rhetoric as “He is a danger — probably a long-term danger — to the citizens of Colorado.”
In no uncertain terms, Shapiro also described Doucette’s “enterprise” as placing economic and emotional stress on its targeted public officials.
He is best known for traveling to Harney County, Ore. in January 2016 to try the government for their actions during the Bundy occupation, using local residents as his jury pool, the same idea Ammon Bundy floated a month earlier.
Prior to this, Doucette had a “trial” in Costilla County, where he found local officials guilty and demanded they resign. He took his activity to that rural, sparsely populated, county in 2015 when persons who had begun purchasing acreage sought to reside on those lands and live off the grid, but ran afoul of county planning and zoning laws and had repeated problems with code enforcement officers.
Doucette owned a computer-repair shop in Littleton and declared himself a judge despite not being recognized by any U.S. judicial system. He was one of the leading actors in an extra-legal organization called the “people’s grand jury of Colorado.”
An organizational meeting in Romeo, for example, drew some 25 persons.
At the time, Costilla County was increasing enforcement of its land-use codes and was proposing a number of changes to its ordinances, including clarification of camping restrictions. Unaccustomed to having code-enforcement officers coming by their properties to do inspections, demand permits and issue warnings, the settlers were not pleased.
They organized opposition, including protests at county commissioners’ meetings where changes to the code were being considered. Many said they couldn’t afford requirements like septic systems and argued that they should be able to freely camp on their own land.
Doucette arrived and swore in “constitutional marshals.” He also offered legal advice to residents opposing land use requirements. Persons who subscribe to a sovereign ideology often don’t believe they are required to follow any regulations drafted and passed by politicians — things like tax codes or driver’s license rules — “because the U.S. government has been corrupted and sovereigns are not under contract to adhere to all of its laws.”
According the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, Doucette and at least nine other participants took things a step further in Colorado and engaged in activities the FBI considers to be “paper terrorism,” harassing and intimidating real judges, law enforcement personnel and public officials with illegitimate arrest warrants, subpoenas and liens.
Doucette will be held in the Colorado Department of Corrections.