The Chester Doles Sentencing Hearing:
An Eyewitness Account
Chester Doles receives minimum possible sentence in emotion-charged hearing; prosecutor admits political motive.
March 24, 2004
by Kevin Alfred Strom
This is something that isn't easy to write about. Chester Doles, a
good man, a patriot, and a loving husband and father was just sentenced
to federal prison for 70 months minus time served and minus time
allowed for good behavior -- meaning he will probably be separated from
his family and friends for about four more years. On Thursday, about
twenty of us -- members of the Doles family, friends, and National
Alliance members -- attended Chester's sentencing hearing.
Chester -- under threat of charges against his wife, who is now the
sole caretaker of their eleven children -- took full responsibility for
the 'crime' of having six guns on the grounds of his mountaintop home
near Dahlonega, Georgia. He was targeted a year ago by agents of the
Jewish-led rogue group within the US Justice Department -- the
so-called Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) -- not because there was
any threat from Mr. Doles, whose decade-old conviction for misdemeanors
made him technically a 'felon' in the eyes of arcane federal gun laws,
but because of his leadership in the National Alliance and his
organizing demonstrations against illegal immigration. (Mestizo
immigration, much of it illegal, is supported by Jewish groups,
agribusiness interests, and powerful multinational corporations. It is
rife in north Georgia and is quickly changing the face of rural Dixie
into something resembling Mexico.)
The sentencing hearing took place in decaying central Atlanta's
federal courthouse, a faceless grey block with a large and heavily
corroded American eagle sculpture attached to its front wall. The
hearing was held before Judge Richard Story, who, though he obviously
endorses the multiracialist religion of tolerance for everything but
the survival of our race, did seem to be somewhat bewildered at the
ferocity of the prosecution of Chester for what was -- at most -- a
technicality, and embarrassed by the fact that the sentencing
guidelines under which all federal judges must work gave him little
leeway to reduce the sentence.
Mr. Doles entered the courtroom looking hale and hearty, though his
family reports that he has experienced some serious health problems --
and racially-motivated threats -- while incarcerated. He has grown a
full and flowing head of hair now, medium brown with just a touch of
grey near the temples. Dressed in brilliant white, he looked more like
a philosopher than a prisoner.
The decision was known beforehand; a plea agreement had been made.
Chester took full responsibility for the guns he didn't even own
(though he had been told years before that his right to own firearms
had been restored) largely because prosecutors and agents of the
politically-motivated "Joint Terrorism Task Force" threatened to
initiate "proceedings" against his wife if he did not.
Mr. Doles' attorney Ed Marger spent the first few minutes having
all of the family members and friends who had come to see the hearing
introduced by Mrs. Teresa Doles, Chester's wife, so the judge could see
and hear for himself all those who had come because they believed in
the integrity and good character of Chester. Among them were Dr.
Charles Ellis, a stalwart National Alliance member from Alaska, and
Teresa, obviously emotionally moved but well in control of herself,
told the judge about their close-knit family, and how much the Doles'
11 children were dependent upon the strength and character and physical
presence of their father for love, day-to-day guidance, and an example
in their young lives. It was heartbreaking to hear her tell us of the
indescribable loss an infant and a five-year-old feel when they cannot
see Daddy anymore. She told of the depression and resentment of a teen
who couldn't stand to live at home anymore with his father gone from
the mountain. It was impossible not to cry at what the "Justice"
Department had done to this family.
Dr. Charles Ellis, a medical doctor who specializes in childhood
psychological disorders, took the stand to tell the judge of the very
serious consequences that may result to children who are long separated
from their fathers, and about the special circumstances of the Doles
children. He also testified to Chester Doles' exemplary character and
love for his family -- and also to his honesty: Chester had no idea
that he was violating any law or regulation and would never have done
so intentionally, because he knew that thereby he would be putting his
family at risk.
A surprise witness for Chester was a Black man, writer and speaker Daryl Davis, the author of the book Klan-destine Relationships,
a multiracialist book focusing on the Ku Klux Klan. Chester Doles,
associated with the Klan 13 years ago, was one of the interviewees for
Mr. Davis's book. Davis said that he had come to know Mr. Doles and his
family quite well, and they had maintained friendly contact despite
their difference in race, and widely divergent racial and political
views. He believed firmly, he said, that Chester Doles posed no threat
of violence or lawlessness to anyone. In the face of obvious obstacles,
Mr. Davis did a very honorable thing in coming to Atlanta on Thursday.
In an emotional speech before the court, Chester apologized to the
taxpayers for the burden his case had placed on them, and he choked up
with tears for almost a full minute when he apologized for the pain and
harm that he had caused his family. At no time did he renounce his
racial beliefs. He did point out to the court that he had not engaged
in any political activism for a full two months before the SWAT-style
raid on his home. (The raid, incidentally, netted no more -- and no
different -- firearms than could be found in many rural Georgia homes.)
He told of his love for his wife and family, describing his
relationship with Teresa in Biblical language, even though he is not a
religious man in the conventional sense: He said that his wife and he
were truly "of one flesh." He knew that the separation has been and
will be hard for his children and his wife -- and he asked that that
separation be as short as the judge could allow.
He admitted his violations of the law in the past, and recounted
his efforts to better himself, including his working for a college
degree at the age of 42 while simultaneously being the sole support for
his large family.
Chester -- and attorney Marger -- asked the court to fulfill the
promise made in the plea agreement and give Chester the minimum
sentence possible. He also asked the court if he might be permitted,
after his release, to continue to go hunting with his boys using a bow
and arrow. This last request was denied.
Prosecutor Todd Alley -- never one to miss making a career-boosting
speech when media are present and it is sure to reach the right ears --
argued against Chester's sincerity (even though Alley had already
signed off on the plea agreement). He also argued against the sincerity
of those, like myself, who wrote letters to the court on Chester's
behalf. Alley, with JTTF Special Agent Joe Thompson constantly at his
shoulder, stated that "the people who wrote those letters never
mentioned how they came to know Mr. Doles." (Actually, that was a lie:
In my letter I specifically stated that I came to know Chester through
his political activism.) Alley continued, "That's because they came to
know Mr. Doles because they're members of the National Alliance." He
incorrectly described the National Alliance as a "hate group" -- and,
just as Thompson had earlier, falsely alleged that the Alliance was a "dangerous", "domestic terrorist" threat.
Incredibly, Alley made the fact that this was a political
prosecution obvious when he said that returning Chester to his family
would not serve the goals of the court or society "until he can
honestly say he has given up his views." He smirked when he added that
Chester must also "teach his children that hatred is not the right way,
and tolerance and acceptance is the path they should take."
Alley and Thompson made an interesting pair at the prosecution
table: Alley, boyish-looking and blond almost to the point of albinism,
listening carefully to every word of Thompson, swarthy and goateed,
looking like a dark, menacing figure out of a 1930s Central Committee
of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union photograph, or a younger
version of Michael Chertoff, or Anton LaVey on a very bad day.
Judge Story, in passing sentence, may have been trying to do damage
control after Alley's ill-timed outburst when he emphasized that
Chester had every right to hold any views he pleased. He did state that
Chester would face a decision when he spoke to his children about the
case: To paraphrase -- with some poetic license -- the judge said
Chester could either tell his children that we have a good and just
political and judicial system in this country, and he ran afoul of it
because he criminally broke the righteous gun laws passed by the
righteous Congress of the United States of America -- or he could tell
them that he was a "victim of the government."
Judge Story gave Chester Doles the lightest sentence it was in his
power to give. He also vowed to ask the Bureau of Prisons to consider
locating him in a prison within a day's drive of north Georgia, and to
ask the Marshals to take seriously the threats that had already been
made against him in jail.
JTTF operative Joe Thompson spoke only in whispers throughout the
hearing and did not address the court. But later, when Dr. Ellis and I
had just finished saying our good-byes to Mr. Marger downstairs,
Thompson turned from the group he was with and addressed Dr. Ellis and
me, asking us, in a voice loud enough to be heard everywhere in the
lobby, if we were staying in Georgia. He then pointed at each of us in
turn, saying "I'll be seeing you next." Most unprofessional conduct, in my opinion.
After the hearing, there was a gathering at the Doles' mountaintop
home. We talked long into the evening. The mood was tinged with
sadness, but there was also determination. Determination to stand
together in the face of oppression. Determination to help each other
get through this. And determination to give some hope and happiness to
those little ones who won't be seeing Daddy for a long time.
Now, at least, there is a timeline for Chester to be returned to
his wife and children. His family needs support more than ever. They
are strong, but they are struggling every day, mainly from lack of
money. They need friends who will remember them, not only now, but
regularly, every month, every holiday, every time you can -- from now
until 2008 or 2009. If you can help these good people in need, their
mailing address is
P.O. Box 1532
Dahlonega, GA 30533
My letter to Judge Story:
7th March, 2004
Dear Judge Story:
I came to know Chester Doles three years ago through his political
activism. But I think it's wrong that his case became politicized and I
am not going to talk about politics in this letter. Chester Doles is a
man whose honor, trust, hard work, and love for others puts him in that
small class of men who can honestly be called exceptional. I think that
even his detractors will admit that it was his loyalty to and trust in
those who said they were his friends, and his trust in the legal
system, including his belief in what some officials had told him, that
led to his present tragic difficulties. It was not an intention to harm anyone or to flout the law.
His current circumstances -- separation from his family for over a
year now, and who knows how much longer -- are tragic not just for him,
but for his close-knit family and the larger community of which they
are a part.
Chester Doles had turned his life around since his trouble with the
law in the last decade. He was a skilled workman, gainfully employed
and supporting a family of 11 children ranging in age from infancy to
the later teen years. He took a raw mountain and with a lot of hard
work and faith -- and very little money -- built an impressive,
well-kept home. I have seen and talked with these children, Judge
Story, and I can tell you that not only do they love their father with
deep devotion and miss him with all their hearts, but they look up to him as a pattern and exemplar in their lives. Chester Doles was their physical, financial, and moral
support. Now he is torn from their side -- for how long, we do not
know, but we pray it is not very long. His loyal wife, Teresa, is
carrying on as best she can with the help of family and friends; but
the most important support, the rock on which everything else stood, is
gone, except for a face on the other side of a wire or a distant voice
on a telephone line. The family faces a very uncertain financial
future. Faith in Chester's soon return is one thing that sustains them.
That faith needs to be renewed, not dashed.
Chester Doles was attending school to better himself and his
family, too. Everything he did was based on his love for his family and
his community. Chester Doles is not a wealthy man in terms of dollars,
Judge Story, but he is rich beyond measure in generosity and love: he
would pay the last dollar from his own pocket if a friend was in need
of help, and it would be given without a mention of repayment.
Knowing these things as I do, I know that Chester Doles did not
intend to violate any law or harm his country or community in any way.
Not only would he never intentionally do such a thing, but he would
also never have knowingly placed his beloved family at such risk. I
believe that the essential innocence of his intent should be considered
when sentence is passed on him.
When I began this letter, I said that Chester Doles was
exceptional. I should amplify that statement. Chester Doles is one of
those men for whom honor, love, nation, and family are not just
platitudes to be recited on appropriate occasions and snickered at when
the cameras are off: For Chester Doles they are real, abiding, and
guiding presences in his life. Through the lives of such men, sound
children are raised and communities thrive. He is needed at home soon.
Kevin Alfred Strom.
The news of the hearing as described by the North Georgia Nugget follows:
Doles receives minimum sentence
By Sharon Hall
U.S. District Judge Richard Story sentenced Chester James Doles to
serve five years and 10 months in federal prison on charges of illegal
weapons possession in Atlanta federal court Thursday. Story also
ordered Doles to get credit for time served; a little over one year.
The sentence is at the low end of the sentencing guidelines.
Doles was arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents March
7, 2003 while returning to his Winters Mountain home. After a search of
his three-acre home site he was charged with six counts of weapons
possession. Possession of a weapon by anyone convicted of a crime
carrying more than two years in prison is a federal offense. Doles
received a seven-year sentence when he was convicted of battery in
Elkton, Md. for an assault on an inter-racial couple in 1993. In 1997,
he pled guilty to 4th degree burglary and was sentenced to three years,
but placed on probation.
The FBI's interest in Doles stems from his affiliation with the white supremacist group the National Alliance.
"This is not a case in which my client was charged with anything
except possession of firearms," Doles' attorney Ed Marger said in an
interview last year with The Nugget, "but from the record at the bond
hearing, what was brought out was Chester Doles' involvement with the
National Alliance. So the question is, what is this case all about. The
FBI worked for two years on gun charges? Is that what this is really
Doles' wife, Teresa, said that at the time of her husband's arrest
he had resigned as regional coordinator of the white supremacist group,
returned to school at North Georgia College & State University, and
was concentrating on being a father to the couple's 11 children.
Each of the six weapons possession charges stemming from the 2003
raid at his home could have netted Doles a 10-year prison term if found
guilty in a jury trial. Earlier this year, on the advice of his
attorney, Doles pled guilty to reduced charges carrying a possible
maximum sentence of 10 years.
At the sentencing hearing before Story Thursday Teresa pled with
the judge for lenience, asking him to take into consideration their
children and what they would loose if their father were to be sentenced
to a lengthy prison term.
Dr. Charles T. Ellis, a medical doctor of psychiatry, testified he
had known Doles for four years. He told the court that having Doles
home with his family as soon as possible would "serve the goals of the
court and society's goals."
The prosecution pointed out that Ellis had ties to the National Alliance.
Also speaking on Doles' behalf was Daryl Davis, a black man and
author of Klan-destine Relationships, an exploration of racism from
inside the Ku Klux Klan. Davis met Doles while writing the book. At the
time, Doles was involved with the KKK, and one of Davis' interviews.
Davis told the court Doles has changed since they first met 13
years ago. "While you are actively learning about someone else you are
passively teaching them about yourself," Davis said. "Chester and I are
true friends. We exchange Christmas cards, they sent me a birth
announcement when Aryanna was born, I've spent time in their home. This
are not the type of things a person who poses a threat to society would
Dole also spoke to the court before sentencing, saying he made a
mistake. He said he was "doing well at the time of my arrest. I was a
student at North Georgia College and planning to get my AA, and maybe
by bachelor's. For what I did, there is no excuse. I apologize to the
court and to the government, and to my family."
In closing statements Marger said, "I'm impressed with Chester. His
ideas are very, very different from those I have, but to choose me as
an attorney [Marger is Jewish] and Daryl Davis as a friend, shows that
he has an open mind. I know the sentencing guidelines don't give you
much leeway in sentencing, but I ask for the lowest sentence and time
Federal prosecutors pointed out that Doles has been in front of
several judges before, and this was the first time he had said he had
made a mistake. Of a number of letters submitted on Doles' behalf, the
prosecution said, most of them were from National Alliance members. Up
to this point, Chester Doles has tried to keep his National Alliance
affiliation out of the case.
Prosecutors also pointed out that returning Doles to his family may
not serve the goals of the court or society, "until he can honestly say
he has given up his views and will teach his children that hatred is
not the right way, and tolerance and acceptance is the path they should
In handing down his decision Story said that in sending people to
prison those left behind are often the "most severely punished. I've
read the letters sent to me, and I recognize the sense of loss, and
that the sentence I hand down does not just affect Chester Doles."
Doles' children present in court, he said, "would learn a lesson
about our government today," but what that lesson was depended largely
on Doles. "You can teach them if they believe you have truly done
something wrong, or if you are a victim of the government. If you want
to truly do the right thing, instill values in your children. I
challenge you today. You think as a federal judge I have a lot of
power, but only you have the power to turn from people who do not
trust, from people who hate."
Story said he did not know what was in Doles' heart, but that he
was "a citizen of this country, and you have every right to hold these
beliefs. It's one of the basic freedoms granted in the Constitution. I
hope and trust you can pick up the pieces of your life and move
forward, and I hope your children will as well."
Marger requested Story recommend transfer of Doles to a federal
facility in Lexington, Ky. Several threats were made against Doles by
fellow inmates where he is currently housed.
Source: National Vanguard
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