Chippewa County defendant refuses to attend his trial, is headed to Minnesota prison
Brandon Moore claims to be a "freeborn Sovereign" and "not subject to domination." A Chippewa County jury returned guilty verdicts on drug and firearm charges at his trial, which he chose not to attend.
MONTEVIDEO — Brandon Moore will be going to prison after refusing to attend his own trial.
A Chippewa County jury returned guilty verdicts on felony charges of first-degree drug sale, first-degree drug possession, and ineligible possession of a firearm after a one-day trial Thursday.
The jury deliberated for around 20 minutes before returning the verdicts, according to Christopher Reisdorfer, Chippewa County assistant attorney who prosecuted the case.
Moore, 51, of Waite Park, Minnesota, will be sentenced to prison based on the presumptive sentencing guidelines, according to an order by presiding Judge Thomas Van Hon. He ordered that Moore be transferred from the Chippewa County Jail to the custody of the state Commissioner of Corrections while awaiting sentencing.
Moore had previously made known his intent not to attend his trial. Judge Van Hon issued an order prior to the trial. It stated that the court would not place Moore in a restraint chair to compel his attendance at the trial.
The judge also appointed attorney Andrew Hodny to serve as an “advisory counsel” to represent Moore at the trial since the defendant refused to participate in his own defense.
Moore was arrested outside of Granite Falls during a traffic stop on Jan. 24, 2022. At the time of his arrest, he told officers that they needed to “leave him alone.”
A few days later, he filed a 10-page “Affidavit of Truth” with the district court claiming to be a “natural, freeborn Sovereign, without subjects.”
An introductory paragraph stated, “I am neither subject to any entity anywhere, nor is any entity subject to me. I neither dominate anyone, nor am I dominated.”
According to the criminal complaint, Moore was driving a Chevrolet Impala on U.S. Highway 212 just east of the Granite Falls city limits shortly before midnight on Jan. 24.
A Chippewa County Sheriff’s deputy and Granite Falls Police Department officer were in their stationary squad vehicles when the police officer saw that the Impala had expired plates. The officer used his lights to initiate a traffic stop.
Moore continued to drive out of town followed by the officers in their vehicles. The 2.7-mile pursuit ended when Moore stopped his vehicle at the road entrance to the Granite Falls Energy plant.
Officers reported a strong smell of marijuana from Moore’s vehicle as they approached it. They “coached” him out of his vehicle and handcuffed him after hearing his comments that he was not a threat and should be left alone, according to the complaint.
A search of his vehicle led to the seizure of approximately one pound (453 grams) of methamphetamine, 3.8 grams of marijuana, a black Walther Creed 9 mm handgun with one round in the chamber, $3,400 in cash in rubber bands in the arm center console, and $127 cash in Moore’s wallet on the front seat.
The defendant was transported to the Yellow Medicine County Jail in Granite Falls and identified by fingerprints to be Brandon Stuart Moore.
Court records indicate that Moore has a criminal history dating to 1992 in Minnesota for convictions on charges of drug possession, fifth-degree assault, misdemeanor domestic assault, criminal damage to property, and carrying a handgun without a permit.
The presumptive sentence for first-degree drug sale for a defendant without a criminal history is 74 months to 100 months in prison, according to information from the Chippewa County Attorney’s office.
Moore’s conviction for drug sale is based on the large quantity of methamphetamine and cash that were in his possession at the time of arrest.
A presentence investigation has been ordered.