12 December 1997
Source: The Oregonian online http://www.oregonlive.com/

See related article: http://jya.com/jimbell6.htm

Bell gets 11 months in prison, 3 years supervised release, fine

The Associated Press
12/12/97 7:54 PM Eastern

TACOMA (AP) -- A federal judge Friday imposed an 11-month sentence for tax violations on James Dalton Bell, whose 10-part Internet essay, "Assassination Politics," proposed apparent "bounties" on government officials.

Federal prosecutors say he was advocating bounties on public officials he considered "miscreants" and "slimeballs." Bell has said he was theorizing, not advocating any killing.

The Vancouver, Wash., man pleaded guilty in July to trying to impede Internal Revenue Service agents and to using false Social Security numbers to hide his assets.

After his prison term, U.S. District Judge Franklin Burgess ordered Bell to undergo three years of supervised release. He also was ordered to pay $1,359 in restitution for damage caused by a stink bomb he set off at the IRS's Vancouver office.

Bell's essay was cited in the indictment as a means by which he sought to intimidate IRS agents, Assistant U.S. Attorney Annmarie Levins said.

A news release from federal prosecutors says that as part of his plea agreement, Bell "admitted advocating a scheme called `Assassination Politics' whereby persons would be rewarded with `digital cash' through the Internet for killing undesirable people.

"Bell identified government employees, particularly IRS employees, as such undesirable people, and argued that the threat of `Assassination Politics' would intimidate them from enforcing Internal Revenue laws for fear of being assassinated."

He also admitted proposing "Assassination Politics" as an enforcement mechanism for the anti-government Oregon extremist group Multnomah County Common Law Court, which purports to try government officials for performance of their duties, the release said.

Prosecutors and Bell's public defender sought a sentence of 6 to 12 months as part of a plea bargain. Federal probation officers recommended 27 months, citing the "totality" of Bell's behavior.

Bell described "Assassination Politics" as a means for ordinary citizens to take action against public officials they perceived as having violated their rights.

"What if they could go to their computers, type in the miscreant's name and select a dollar amount. The amount they, themselves, would be willing to pay to anyone who `predicts' that officeholder's death," he wrote.

"That donation would be sent, encrypted and anonymously, to a central registry organization and be totaled, with the total amount available within seconds to any interested individual."

He noted that if one person in 1,000 "was willing to pay $1 to see some government slimeball dead, that would be, in effect, a $250,000 bounty on his head."

In an April raid on the home Bell shared with his elderly parents, authorities found the home addresses of about 70 IRS employees, as well as three semiautomatic assault rifes, a handgun and potentially deadly chemicals. He was arrested in May.