December 2, 2021

NBC4's Scott McFarlane reported yesterday that the sentencing for a low-level Capitol riot defendant seemed to signal a get-tough sentencing policy. Russell Peterson pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of unlawful picketing at the Capitol. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson sentenced him to one month. Via Raw Story:

"The judge says Peterson wrote a letter to the court that seemed genuine, seemed to show remorse, and Peterson said very little during the proceedings, saying only that he's sorry and that this is his cross to bear," MacFarlane explained. "Genuine remorse seems to benefit defendants. And the judge went further and said, 'For a lot of other January 6th defendants, their minds haven't changed, their ways haven't changed, they're not showing remorse.'"

MacFarlane added that, according to his own reporting, "at least 40 January 6th defendants are in the D.C. jail as of tonight in pretrial detention, and according to lawyers and some who've served time there, they're almost cult-like in the January 6th wing, segregated from the rest of the population, and that it's a radicalizing dynamic in that jail, and that minds aren't being changed in that wing."

Judge Berman Jackson also made it clear that Trump was not a "get out of jail free" card. Via Triblive.com:

Peterson’s attorney, Dani Jahn, had argued that former President Donald Trump, his family members and other allies should be held responsible for contributing to the riot by firing up supporters with incendiary speeches.

Judge Berman agreed that Trump’s Jan. 6 rally prior to the storming “deliberately stoked the flames of fear and discontent and explicitly encouraged” protesters to go to the Capitol “and fight for one reason and one reason only: to make sure the certification of the election didn’t happen.”

However, “no one was swept away to the Capitol, no one was carried,” the judge told Peterson. “There may be others who bear greater responsibility and should be held accountable.

“But this is not their day in court. It’s yours.”

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