Criminal Justice

Defendant Who Planned to Issue 'Citizen Arrest Warrants' Gets Four-Year Sentence

A Georgia man has been sentenced to four years in prison in an alleged plot to take over a Tennessee courthouse.

Darren Wesley Huff, 42, intended to take over the courthouse and issue “citizens arrest warrants” to several public officials, according to an FBI press release. The Knoxville News, the Associated Press and the Times Free Press have stories on his sentencing. He was convicted last year of transporting firearms across state lines for the purpose of promoting civil disobedience.

Huff’s conviction stemmed from an April 2010, trip to Madisonville, Tenn., in support of Walter Fitzpatrick, who was disappointed in a grand jury’s failure to indict President Obama. Fitzpatrick was arrested on a charge of disorderly conduct before he could make a citizen’s arrest of the grand jury foreman, the Knoxville News says. Huff, who had a gun permit, arrived in the town with an AK-47 assault rifle, where he gave a speech to supporters at a diner and bragged about his weapons.

Huff maintained he never intended to take over the courthouse. At his sentencing hearing, he criticized the “mainstream media” for portraying him unfairly and said law enforcement officers had planned to assassinate him, according to the Knoxville News story. “I feel it’s only by the grace of God I’m even standing here today,” he said.

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