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October 4, 2021

Recent Jan 6 rioter sentencings showcase different judges with different sentencing perspectives

The AP has effective coverage of the latest sentencings of January 6 rioters, and they highlight how different judges have different takes on how these unique offenders ought to be punished.

From Friday: "Judge questions whether Jan. 6 rioters are treated unfairly." Excerpts:

Rejecting the recommendation of prosecutors, a federal judge sentenced a Jan. 6 rioter to probation on Friday and suggested that the Justice Department was being too hard on those who broke into the Capitol compared to the people arrested during anti-racism protests following George Floyd’s murder.

U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden questioned why federal prosecutors had not brought more cases against those accused in 2020 summertime protests, reading out statistics on riot cases in the nation’s capital that were not prosecuted.  “I think the U.S. attorney would have more credibility if it was even-handed in its concern about riots and mobs in this city,” McFadden said during Danielle Doyle’s sentencing for entering the Capitol on Jan. 6 with a throng of other rioters.  Prosecutors recommended two months of home confinement for Doyle, who is from Oklahoma.

The statements by McFadden, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, were a major departure from the other federal judges overseeing insurrection cases so far, despite other Trump appointees on the court assigned to the hundreds of cases.... 

The Associated Press analyzed more than 300 criminal cases stemming from the protests incited by Floyd’s murder, showing that many leftist rioters had received substantial sentences, rebutting the argument that pro-Trump defendants were treated more harshly than Black Lives Matter protesters....

By contrast, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg on Friday sentenced another rioter, Andrew Ryan Bennett, to three months of home confinement, accepting the request by prosecutors. Bennett was accused of espousing conspiracy theories about the election and used “pugnacious rhetoric” in posting about his plans to be in Washington. 

From Monday: "Judge slams claims that Jan. 6 rioters are treated unfairly." Excerpts:

A Texas man who joined the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan 6. was sentenced Monday to 45 days behind bars even though prosecutors weren’t seeking jail time, after the judge blasted comparisons between the riot that day and the Black Lives Matter protests over racial injustice.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan called it a false equivalence “to compare the actions of people protesting, mostly peacefully, for civil rights” to the mob that “was trying to overthrow the government.”  She said doing so “ignores the very real danger that the Jan. 6 riots pose to the foundation of our democracy.”...

Chutkan, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, said she “flatly” disagreed with the suggestion raised by “some people” that the Jan. 6 defendants were being treated unfairly.  In fact, she said she believes those who joined the pro-Trump mob were being treated more leniently than many other defendants.

Some of many prior related posts:

October 4, 2021 at 10:43 PM | Permalink


"different sentencing perspectives"—that's attempted humor, right?

Posted by: kotodama | Oct 5, 2021 10:19:09 AM

Wry on toast.

Posted by: Joe | Oct 5, 2021 11:18:04 AM

Is this now the point where Kyrsten Sinema dons her wry wig? (That joke from LGM still has me at a loss, to be honest.)

Posted by: kotodama | Oct 5, 2021 12:13:39 PM

This is just more evidence that the Jan 6th prosecutions have little to nothing to do with the law of justice.

Posted by: restless94110 | Oct 5, 2021 2:07:36 PM

Of course, these types of differences based on the "judicial" philosophies of judges were part of the motivating factors behind having sentencing guidelines -- namely that there is something wrong when the sentence depends on the judge assigned to the case rather than the facts of the offense or the character of the defendant.

Posted by: tmm | Oct 5, 2021 4:46:44 PM

I still don't know whether to the take OP seriously. He's admitted to trolling in the past.

But either way, it doesn't even make sense to speak of "differing perspectives." That, to me at least, implies that you start with the same conduct X at issue in both cases, and the only "differing perspectives" have to do with how two different judges approach the sentencing.

In this case though, you *don't even have the same conduct at issue*. So the whole thing collapses immediately. On the one hand, you have people who are *justifiably* upset about the *racist slaughter* of unarmed/unthreatening black folks, and engaging in *legitimate 1A activity* to protest it. On the other hand, you have fascist reactionaries being crybabies because they lost an election *fair and square*—or even with an *undeserved leg up* from assorted voter suppression efforts—and then having the temerity to commit an *insurrection* to try to *subvert U.S. democracy*.

So yeah, this is about a far from "differing perspectives" as one could possibly get. And McFadden, not surprisingly, has made it very clear which side he sympathizes with—the insurrectionists. His attempts to bothsides the two sets of conduct would be incredibly sad and pathetic if they weren't so grotesque, disturbing, and offensive.

Posted by: kotodama | Oct 6, 2021 12:25:01 PM

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