CONCORD, New Hampshire — A woman who took part in a monthslong standoff with her husband at their home against U.S. marshals in 2007 should not be released from federal prison yet, the U.S. attorney’s office said in court documents.
Elaine Brown, now 78, has been imprisoned for nearly 15 years and awaits resentencing. She hopes to be released.
Brown and co-conspirators “armed themselves to the teeth and engaged in violent threats against the marshals,” and her actions deserve serious punishment, according to a sentencing memorandum from the government filed Tuesday. It recommends that she serve at least another decade in prison, according to sentencing guidelines.
Years ago, she and her husband, Edward Brown, had called the federal income tax unconstitutional. They retreated to their fortress-like home in Plainfield, New Hampshire, before the end of their tax evasion trial. They were convicted and sentenced in absentia to five years in prison.
Anti-tax crusaders and out-of-state militia groups rallied to their cause. After about nine months, U.S. marshals posing as supporters gained entry, arrested them and discovered weapons, explosives and booby traps.
Elaine Brown was sentenced to 35 years in prison on conspiracy, weapons and obstruction of justice charges. Her husband was sentenced to 37 years.
One charge against them, carrying and possessing a destructive device in connection with a crime of violence, carried a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years. It was vacated following a U.S. Supreme Court decision last year that found the “crime of violence” term unconstitutionally vague.
The Browns are scheduled for resentencing on their remaining charges at separate hearings on Jan. 31.
Elaine Brown’s lawyer said her crimes didn’t result in any actual violence. She also was manipulated by Edward Brown and seeks a divorce, he said, and has undergone substantial rehabilitation.
The peaceful ending to the confrontation was to the marshals’ credit, not Elaine Brown’s, the document written by Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth Aframe said. Just before undercover marshals arrested her, “she held a semi-automatic handgun on them while her husband held an assault rifle.”
Aframe wrote that Elaine Brown’s suggestion that her husband was to blame is simplistic. Before she was to be sentenced on her tax convictions, she chose to cut off an electronic monitoring bracelet and join him.
“She is responsible for her own actions,” Aframe wrote.