Federal judge complains prosecutors want more jail time for Jan. 6 breach than for Kavanaugh protester
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A federal judge in Washington, D.C., complained last week that prosecutors seem to be seeking disproportionate sentences for nonviolent offenders who entered the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden of the District of Columbia complained that prosecutors recommended more jail time for nonviolent Jan. 6 defendants than for a protester who disrupted the confirmation hearing for then-U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh.
The Washington Post has the story.
McFadden spoke last Wednesday as he sentenced 37-year-old florist Jenny Cudd of Midland, Texas, to two months of probation and a $5,000 fine. She has also paid $500 in restitution. Courthouse News Service and WUSA9 also have stories on Cudd’s sentencing.
Cudd had worn a bulletproof sweatshirt to the Capitol and had declared on a Facebook livestream, “Hell yes, I am proud of my actions.”
The federal government had sought a sentence of 75 days in jail after Cudd agreed to plead guilty to entering and remaining in a restricted area or building.
The government had recommended 10 days in prison for the Kavanaugh protester, even though he had 14 prior arrests and accidentally knocked a chair into a bystander during his arrest, McFadden said.
According to the Washington Post’s tally, federal prosecutors have sought jail time for 12 of about 15 Jan. 6 defendants sentenced on the charge to which Cudd pleaded guilty. The average sentence sought by prosecutors was a two-month jail term. Eight of the defendants got a prison sentence, and in half the cases, the sentence was 30 days or less.
Before the Capitol breach, McFadden said, he couldn’t remember seeing a nonviolent, misdemeanor defendant “sentenced to serious jail time … regardless of their race, gender or political affiliation.”
McFadden said it feels like the government has had two different standards, “and I can’t abide by that.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Laura Hill had argued that Jan. 6 was “unlike anything in American history,” and there was “a vast amount of violence and destruction.”
In response to arguments by Cudd’s lawyer, Hill said the Kavanaugh protesters were escorted out of the Capitol, nobody had to evacuate the building, and the hearing was able to continue.
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