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September 10, 2023

Severe federal sentences for Proud Boys and other Jan 6 defendants generating notable commentary

The lengthy federal prison sentences recently given to Proud Boy leaders and others — eg, 22 years for Enrique Tarrio, 18 years for Ethan Nordean, 17 years for Joe Biggs — has generated a lot of intriguing commentary from a lot of intriguing sources.  Here are some pieces reporting on notable comments and some pieces that are the notable comments:

From Florida Politics, "Ron DeSantis floats ‘pardons and commutations’ after Proud Boy sentenced to 22 years"

From The Messenger, "Proud Boys to Argue ‘Trial Tax’ Was Imposed on Them After Rejecting Plea Deals"

From the National Post, "J.D. Tuccille: The injustice of jailing Jan. 6 rioters for 20 years"

From the New York Times, "DeSantis and Ramaswamy Call Proud Boys’ Sentences ‘Excessive’ and ‘Wrong’"

From Northeastern Global News, "Leaders in the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol were sentenced to about 20 years in prison. Was that fair?"

From USA Today, "'Trial tax': Proud Boys members complain their long prison sentences punish them for demanding a trial"

From the Washington Post, "They confronted Proud Boys but don’t celebrate their prison sentences"

From WLRN, "Enrique Tarrio's mother says her son was a 'political pawn'"

September 10, 2023 at 09:27 PM | Permalink


As my mom used to say, "if you can't do the time, don't do the crime."

Posted by: anon | Sep 11, 2023 12:18:16 PM

It's not even clear that the guy who wasn't even there committed a crime. If threats against those who would break a boycott are protected by the First Amendment, then sure feels like anything that head Proud Boy dude said would be protected.

Posted by: federalist | Sep 12, 2023 8:37:32 AM

DeSantis, by the way, is very smart. He's suckering the media. When they ask him about this, he's going to bring up the BLM rioter who got 10 years for killing someone by arson. (The federal equivalent of felony murder.)

Anon will have nothing to say about this. LOL.

Posted by: federalist | Sep 12, 2023 8:39:26 AM

All you need to add to your post, Federalist, is some gratuitous aside about Hunter Biden. Then we'll know it's really you.

Posted by: Really! | Sep 13, 2023 11:31:19 AM

Federalist writes "It's not even clear that the guy who wasn't even there committed a crime." It was clear enough to a unanimous jury of 12.

Posted by: Emily | Sep 14, 2023 12:04:15 AM

Come on, Emily. Jury findings matter only when they hurt liberals/Democrats or help conservatives/Republicans. Don't be so naiive.

Posted by: Really! | Sep 14, 2023 1:25:31 PM

The January 6 riot was a crime. It should be punished.

That said, the difference in punishment between that riot and the BLM riots is also a problem. As Doug has pointed out, it's not so much a problem for the courts; more of a problem for society at large. We should not choose executives who push for that disparity in punishment. We did. That's on us.

Posted by: William C Jockusch | Sep 14, 2023 10:12:49 PM

I don't think you can draw many broad parallels between BLM rioters and the January 6 defendants, except at the lowest levels. The arsonist deal was a bit of an outlier. Unless you want to be a demagogue, of course.

The Proud Boys were charged with 20-year felonies (Seditious Conspiracy and Obstruction of an Official Proceeding), and, apparently, the Guidelines put them pretty near the max.

Twenty-year federal felonies are not generally chargeable against mere "race rioters," if that's what you want to call them. There are always a few that commit a violent crime or two in the midst of a riot, seems like they usually get their deserts.

Also, to which "executives" do you refer? Biden? Or the normal mokes that make up US Attorneys offices? The civil servant ones?

Posted by: Fat Bastard | Sep 14, 2023 11:17:13 PM

The scale of damage from the "protests" in Minneapolis was enormous. See here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aftermath_of_the_George_Floyd_protests_in_Minneapolis. According to Wikipedia, approximately 100 buildings were destroyed, many by fire, and over a thousand were damaged. That doesn't happen without large-scale criminal activity.

I will grant that some of this was likely handled at the state level.

But just as the J6 riots had a combination of organizers and individual hangers-on, and the former could be found and punished by extensive investigation, surely the same was true of the Minneapolis "protests". It sure looks to me like two different riots -- the capitol one causing less property damage, but with an obviously more spectacular target, and the reverse was the case in Minneapolis. Yet the media labels one riot "protests" and the other riot an "insurrection". And the charges for the "insurrectionists" were of the leave-no-stone-unturned variety, while the charges for the "protesters" who destroyed 100 or so buildings, mostly by fire, were far less extensive.

Hunter Biden is relevant for a reason, but more tied to the charges against Trump. We have bank records showing that the Bidens received tens of millions of dollars, in some cases from CCP-tied individuals. I have no idea what crimes might or might not be charged because of this. Until Hunter's recent charges, it sure didn't appear that the same actors who have leveled so many charges against Trump took much of a look at the Bidens.

And then we have Trump getting charged for mishandling classified documents. But what about the "Joe Biden classified documents incident"? See Wikipedia. No criminal charges.

It looks like a pattern. Different levels of punishment for similar behavior, depending on whether the actor is associated with the Republicans or the Democrats.

Why is there such a pattern? This is where we leave the realm of what is currently provable. But bias by people in charge is a reasonable guess. I don't, and can't, know which people in charge made the decisions.

Posted by: William C Jockusch | Sep 15, 2023 5:43:13 PM

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