I’m losing my faith that justice will ever be served. Republicans, both politicians, and their voters seem to be exempt from the rule of law, particularly in the case of white-collar defendants or those who wear white pointy hats, or red baseball MAGA hats (made in China.) The long arm of the law can’t seem to reach them, try as it might feign.
I’ve come to two conclusions:
- Insurrection is not a big deal, because the first attempt is free.
- Merrick Garland is the new Robert Mueller.
Paul Hodgkins a Florida insurrectionist, part of the mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021, one of about 50 people who made it into the Senate chamber, was the first felon to be sentenced on Monday, July 19th.
Hodgkins pleaded guilty last month to one count of obstructing an official proceeding. That offense carries a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison. Sentencing guidelines however recommend 15-20 months. The primary reason for the 18-year gift of freedom is that it was his first offense. That’s a Mulligan of sorts- the first-time is free-ish.
The proceeding was not televised, but it was possible to dial into live audio, so I listened to the defense attorney try to turn the insurrectionist into a victim of his surroundings. Surroundings he put himself in by boarding a bus that took him from Florida to DC to take part in the “stop the steal activities.
His defense: Hodgkins is from a poor community in Florida. (Sob) He followed the crowd into the chamber and then followed them right out. (Sheep are cute.) He did not commit any acts of violence. (Kumbaya.) He has no criminal history. (No criminal history” was what they said about George Floyd’s murderer, Derick Chauvin, who had 18 prior complaints filed against him over 19 years.) He wasn’t among the first group to enter the Building. He did not enter until 15 minutes after the Capitol was breached.
The attorney tossed around catch phrases like “cancel culture,” he quoted Abraham Lincoln, and read a Bible verse. He said his client is forever marked with a scarlet letter. (He said scarlet letter several times.) He will no longer be allowed to vote. He’ll forever be known for the action he took on that day. He has had to wear an ankle monitor, and he has suffered a self-imposed fine, having to pay for a (shitty) lawyer. “He’s a private humble man.” Privacy is subjective I guess, if joining a mob of over 3000 people is private.
The poor guy, carrying a Trump flag and marching across the tops of our Senator’s desks only took selfies. He wasn’t violent. How can we destroy his life with a federal conviction for bad judgment that lasted only 15 minutes? (The judge corrected him- it was 22 minutes.) He’s worried about losing his job. Who will care for his cat if he’s incarcerated? (Someone who didn’t try to overthrow the government?) Then he also urged the media to be forgiving.
Hodgkins, 38-years-old, (old enough to know better,) was in the Capitol Building for almost three hours, entering just after 12:30 pm and staying past 3 pm. His lawyer only counted the time his client was in the Senate chamber, and he kept trying to say it was only 15 minutes. It was 22 minutes and the judge corrected him every time.
The defense asked for a sentence of “no confinement” suggesting this will “heal the nation.” The old let’s not upset people by demanding justice ploy. I find that insulting because I’m upset that there has been no justice.
Just before announcing his sentence, the judge pointed out the gravity of the attack. He first cited the words of Thomas Jefferson who pontificated on our country’s great ability to peacefully transfer power. “The attack on the Capitol on January 6 tarnished that happy history left a stain on this country for years to come.” The Judge continued, “While on the Senate floor, you carried a large red flag, walked among the desks on Senate floor and took selfies,” by carrying a Trump flag the judge said he showed his alliance was to one man, not to the nation. He added that Hodgkins “actively participated in an event that will taint our history,”
“He observed the mayhem… It was obvious as he approached the Capitol. he was participating in the ongoing attack.”
“Members of the US Congress were forced to flee…that is chilling for many reasons. Democracy requires the cooperation of the governed.” He underscored that it was an extraordinary event.
Judge: The goggles Hodgkins brought show he was ready for conflict. “He came that day to defend his position and engage in whatever has to be done.”
Then he added that he must not encourage others to do what he did by letting it go unpunished. He said Hodgkin participated in delaying a solemn act.
That all sounded fair.
With great power comes great responsibility. This judge was not up too the task, clearly.
Then the judge’s hesitancy showed, he seemed apprehensive when he said there is “no benchmark for this kind of offense.” He acknowledged that this sentence will set the bar for the rest. Sometimes in life, you have to go first. Fear of setting precedent should not factor into sentencing.
Then the judge listed his reasons to be lenient, saying Hodgkins did not engage in violent actions, the building had already been breached when he entered, it was his first offense, (pay us next time,) he was not a leader or coordinator, he did community service during his time at home while awaiting sentence, he accepted responsibility almost immediately, and he didn’t have a social media presence that incited violence.
Judge: I believe that what happened was an “aberration” in Paul Hodgkins’ life. “But I have to deter others from ever, ever, ever (engaging) again in what happened” on Jan 6.” He said he believes Hodgkins’ apology is sincere, and that he won’t do it again.
Then he said this, “He didn’t bring weapons.” Hmm… he just said that he brought with him: rope, goggles, gloves. What could those three items be used for if not to partake in the fray? Rope, goggles, and gloves…hmm… I know! Rodeo snorkeling in pursuit of toxic sea wasps?
Again, Hodgkins pleaded guilty last month to one count of obstructing an official proceeding.
- The offense carries a maximum possible sentence of 20 years in prison.
- Because of the special circumstances listed by the judge, sentencing guidelines recommend 15-20 months.
- The prosecution only asked for a 17-month sentence.
- The Defense asked for a 15-month sentence.
So WHY did the judge sentence Hodgkins to eight months?
Hodgkins was sentenced to eight months in prison, ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution for damage to the building, and will have 24 months of supervised release and community service. He’ll be out in four months.
If this sentence was meant to send a message to others to not commit the same crime, it missed the mark. An eight month sentence means he’ll likely be out after four months. The message is you’ll get a slap on the wrist.
Hodgkins is now and forever a felon, And as a felon, he can not vote (in some states,) and he can not legally purchase firearms.
The way I see it, threatening the lives of members of Congress to overthrow the results of an election is treason.
EIGHT MONTHS< FIVE YEARS
Those who anticipated the events on January 6th are domestic terrorists, but they’re protected by a government with well-placed insurrectionists who orchestrated the events and conspired to enable the attack.
Let’s consider the disparity in the sentencing of domestic terrorists:
- Richard Holzer was sentenced to 19 years for plotting to blow up the Temple Emanuel Synagogue in Pueblo, Colorado,
- Domestic terrorist Timothy McVeigh who blew up the Oklahoma City Federal Building was sentenced to death.
- Jessica Rae Reznicek was sentenced to eight years in prison for conspiracy to damage the Dakota Access Pipeline.