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January 31, 2022

Federal judge rejects binding sentencing federal plea deal for men who killed Ahmaud Arbery

As reported in this new AP piece, a "federal judge rejected a plea agreement Monday that would have averted a hate crimes trial for the man convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery." Here are the sentencing details that apparently drove the decision:

A federal judge rejected a plea agreement Monday that would have averted a hate crimes trial for the man convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery.

Arbery’s parents denounced the proposed deal for Travis McMichael, with mother Wanda Cooper-Jones and father Marcus Arbery emotionally asking the judge to reject agreements filed for McMichael and his father, Greg McMichael.

In rejecting the deal, U.S. District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood said it would have locked her into specific terms — including 30 years in federal prison — at sentencing. Wood said that in this case it would only be appropriate to consider the family’s wishes at sentencing, which the proposed deal wouldn’t allow. The judge gave the McMichaels until Friday to decide whether they move ahead with pleading guilty.

Marcus Arbery told reporters outside the federal courthouse in Brunswick that he was “mad as hell” over the proposal, which lawyer Lee Merritt said could enable Travis and Greg McMichael to spend the first 30 years of their life sentences in federal prison, rather than state prison where conditions are tougher. “Ahmaud is a kid you cannot replace,” Arbery said. “He was killed racially and we want 100% justice, not no half justice.”

Cooper-Jones described the U.S. Justice Department’s decision to propose the plea deal despite her objections as “disrespectful.” “I fought so hard to get these guys in the state prison,” she said. “I told them very, very adamantly that I wanted them to go to state prison and do their time. ... Then I got up this morning and found out they had accepted this ridiculous plea.”...

The proposed plea agreements for the McMichaels were filed with the court late Sunday. There was no mention of a deal with their co-defendant, William “Roddie” Bryan. All three men were sentenced to life in prison on Jan. 7 after a trial last fall.

The hate crime charges accuse McMichaels and Bryan of violating the 25-year-old Black man’s civil rights by chasing him through their neighborhood in coastal Georgia on Feb. 23, 2020. The McMichaels armed themselves and pursued Arbery in one pickup truck while Bryan joined the chase in another and recorded video of Travis McMichael blasting Arbery with a shotgun.

January 31, 2022 at 04:53 PM | Permalink


The idea of a "hate" crime is an atrocity visited on the face of American jurisprudence. It is nothing short of double jeopardy.

Moreover a person either commits a crime or does not. Hate has nothing to do with anything at all. Because, who defines what is "hate" and how would you prove the person had the so-called "hate?" Something they wrote on social media? Isn't that just free speech? Maybe that person wanted to rant their thoughts that day, speaking their mind. Now something they wrote or said somehow proves they had "hate?"

The judge should have dismissed the entire trial with prejudice. This atrocity will haunt America for decades.

Posted by: restless94110 | Feb 4, 2022 7:18:04 PM

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