Newark, NJ – A man who claimed his “sovereign citizen” status exempted him from the court’s authority was sentenced to 65 years in prison on Thursday.
Superior Court Judge Martin G. Cronin previously had George Gaymon removed from the courtroom during jury selection after the defendant made inappropriate comments in front of the potential jury pool “that basically tainted the entire jury panel,” Cronin said, according to NJ Advance Media.
In January, a jury convicted 30-year-old Gaymon of two carjackings and an armed robbery.
Essex County Assistant Prosecutor William Neafsey said Gaymon and Mario McClain, “terrorized Essex County” with a series of violent crimes in 2014.
Investigators said Gaymon and McClain would steal a car and use it to bump and carjack another vehicle, NJ Advance Media reported.
The pair stole two cars and carjacked two more in the Orange, Newark, and Irvington areas, police said. They also robbed a gas station.
Gaymon and McClain were arrested after they used credit cards they stole during one of the carjackings to make a purchase at a deli, NJ Advance Media reported.
They were caught on video and identified, police said.
Prosecutors said McClain cooperated and was offered a shorter sentence in exchange.
McClain will only be serving a five to seven year sentence.
But Gaymon went the opposite direction – to the extreme – and began ignoring his attorney and filing his own legal paperwork, claiming a “sovereign citizen” defense, according to NJ Advance Media.
The judge said he granted the prosecution’s motion to make Gaymon’s sentences run consecutively in part to deter other defendants from making the bunk “sovereign citizen” claim at trial, which he said had no basis in law.
“It virtually assures conviction,” Cronin said.
Gaymon must serve 51 years of his sentence before he will be eligible for parole, NJ Advance Media reported.
Former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle also tried the sovereign citizen defense in November of 2017, but was shut down by the court.
Fogle claimed that the federal court that found him guilty on child pornography and sexual conduct involving minors didn’t have authority over him, according to the Washington Post.