« Register for 2021 Menard Family Lecture on Drug Policy and Criminal Justice and other great drug sentencing events | Main | "Toward an Optimal Decarceration Strategy" »

September 29, 2021

Two misdemeanants get 45-day jail terms at latest January 6 riot sentencings

In this post a few weeks ago, I noted that federal prosecutors had started talking up the prospect of seeking jail time even in some of the January 6 riot cases that were resolved through only misdemeanor charges.  Today, as reported in this new AP piece, headlined "Ohio friends sentenced to 45 days for U.S. Capitol riot Jan. 6," jail time for two January 6 misdemeanants became a reality:

Federal prosecutors assert that everybody who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 should be evaluated individually when deciding whether a prison sentence is warranted.  On Wednesday, a judge accepted the Justice Department’s assessment that two friends from Ohio fall into a category of rioters who deserve to be incarcerated.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg sentenced Derek Jancart and Erik Rau to 45 days in jail. Prosecutors had recommended four months of imprisonment for both men.  They must report to jail by Nov. 29.  The jail sentences for Jancart and Rau could become benchmarks for how the courts resolve many other Capitol insurrection prosecutions, a caseload that tops 600 defendants and grows by the week.

Like most of the insurrectionists who have pleaded guilty so far, Jancart and Rau aren’t accused of engaging in any violence or destruction at the Capitol or of conspiring to stop Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral victory. Defense attorneys compared their actions to those of other Capitol riot defendants who avoided prison sentences after pleading guilty to non-violent misdemeanors.

But prosecutors cited several factors in arguing that prison, not probation, was the appropriate sentence for both men — and will be in many other cases.  They said Jancart, an Air Force veteran, prepared for violence on Jan. 6 by bringing a gas mask and two-way radios to Washington. Rau, a steel mill worker, brought a medical kit and Kevlar-lined gloves.

They said Jancart and Rau spent 40 minutes inside the Capitol, reaching House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s conference room. Jancart celebrated the violence on social media and didn’t show any remorse when the FBI arrested him, according to prosecutors.  They said Rau screamed, “We have you surrounded!” at police officers and shouted, “Go, go, go!” and “Yeah, they just pushed through the guards!” Those statements are “akin to inciting a riot and contributed to the environment of terror on that day,” prosecutors said.

“This was not a protest,” prosecutors wrote. “And it is important to convey to future rioters and would-be mob participants — especially those who intend to improperly influence the democratic process — that their actions will have consequences.”

The judge told Jancart and Rau that they and other rioters tried to undermine the peaceful transfer of power after a democratic election.  “There are few actions that are as serious as the one this group took on that day,” Boasberg said.

Jancart and Rau apologized and expressed remorse for their actions. “I did get caught up in the moment,” Jancart said.  “I just kind of followed the crowd and let my curiosity get the best of me.”

“There is no excuse for my actions on Jan. 6,” Rau said. “I 100% know better than to do what I did that day.”

Jancart was arrested at his Ohio home in February. Rau was arrested in July. Both men pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in a Capitol building, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of six months’ imprisonment.

Over 80 defendants have pleaded guilty to riot-related offenses, but only seven others besides Jancart and Rau have been sentenced so far. A Florida man who entered the U.S. Senate chamber was sentenced to eight months in prison.  Two were sentenced to time served after six months in jail. Two were sentenced to house arrest. Two others received probation.

Probationary sentences “should not necessarily become the default,” prosecutors wrote.  “Those who trespassed, but engaged in aggravating factors, merit serious consideration of institutional incarceration. While those who trespassed, but engaged in less serious aggravating factors, deserve a sentence more in line with minor incarceration or home confinement,” they added....

More than 50 other rioters are scheduled to be sentenced before the end of 2021.

Some of many prior related posts:

September 29, 2021 at 05:39 PM | Permalink


Good, it's about time for the misdemeanor insurrectionists to start seeing some time. Anyway, they're so tough and all, I'm sure they'll be just fine, right?

In Jancart's statement I do note an apparent recurring theme at these sentencing hearings. It's the "I just got carried away" argument. Another defendant I recall said a similar thing. And it's complete BS of course. Getting "carried away" is impossible to square with an attack that was thoroughly planned out in advance. That's reflected in Jancart's particular case too because of the individual preparation he carried out.

The utter lack of remorse—until it dawns on them that *gasp* they might actually face consequences—seems to be a pattern as well.

In Jancart's case, you also have yet another insurrectionist who's ex-AF, just like the late, not particularly lamented, Ashli Babbitt. Clearly the AF isn't sending their best.

Finally, it's nice to see AP continuing to acknowledge reality and being less hesitant to describe this as an insurrection.

Posted by: kotodama | Sep 29, 2021 11:54:51 PM

As to the veterans, they took an oath to stay loyal to the U.S. and would be subject to the 14A, sec. 3 provision.

Congress should get around (there is a pending bill) to passing an enforcement law spelling out a process to enforce the disqualification. Prof. Gerard N. Magliocca, who blogs at two blogs on the "Other Law Blogs" blogroll, has written about this issue & supports the pending bill. I disagree with him on some issues, but his scholarship on the issue is helpful.

In a former thread, one commenter suggested the importance of even a small amount of prison time to provide clarity on the seriousness of the situation. I think there is much truth in that.

Along with any other punishment that a conviction will bring.

Posted by: Joe | Sep 30, 2021 10:47:51 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB