Two-Tiered Justice: A January 6 Rioter Is Sentenced
Clearly, there’s one tier of justice for Trump supporters and another for Black Lives Matter supporters.
On the one hand, a case can be made that Paul Hodgkins got off easy. After all, a measly eight months in prison for having helped carry off what Joe Biden called “the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War”? Wow. Given the gravity of the crime, that’s some serious kid-glove treatment.
Of course, it’s hard to take President Hyperbole seriously. Especially when he seems to compare everything that his political opponents do to the nation’s worst-ever cataclysm. (Recall that just last week, he denounced the very modest voter reform efforts of certain Republican-controlled state legislatures by calling them “the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War.”)
As for the unarmed non-insurrection of January 6, the not-so-speedy wheels of two-tiered American justice turned just a bit yesterday, when the first of what promises to be many felony sentences was handed out to a guy who walked into The People’s House without an invitation while carrying a “Trump 2020” flag. As the Washington Examiner reports:
The first person to be convicted of a felony regarding actions during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot has been sentenced to eight months in prison.
Paul Allard Hodgkins, a 38-year-old Tampa resident, received his sentence on Monday after he pleaded guilty to obstructing a proceeding last month, though he was not accused of assault or damaging property.
“If I had any idea that the protest … would escalate (the way) it did … I would never have ventured farther than the sidewalk of Pennsylvania Avenue,” Hodgkins told the judge, according to the Associated Press, adding, “This was a foolish decision on my part.”
Prosecutors were gunning for an 18-month sentence, while the Florida man’s defense team sought no time behind bars, arguing that their client’s actions were similar to those of Anna Morgan Lloyd, a 49-year-old from Indiana, who got three years of probation for misdemeanor disorderly conduct.
Perhaps Hodgkins’s defense would’ve been better off invoking the names of one Black Lives Matter rioter after another, who burned and looted our nation’s urban centers with relative impunity last summer during the Left’s preferred insurrection.
Take Matè Farrakhan Muhammad, for example, a leader of the Des Moines Black Liberation Movement, who had nine felony counts against him dismissed earlier this year by a judge who ruled that the local attorney’s office violated Muhammad’s right to a speedy trial by waiting 46 days after his arrest to file a formal charging document — one more day than allowed by law.
His crime? Shining a laser into the eyes of several University of Iowa police officers during an August 31 protest in Iowa City — a crime that left several officers with temporary vision loss, headaches, and other health problems.
Seems a bit more harmful than taking a “Trump 2020” flag into The People’s House and scaring some members of Congress, or propping one’s feet upon a desk in Nancy Pelosi’s office, no?
At least Muhammad was actually arrested, though. Which is more than can be said for most BLM rioters. As Power Line’s Paul Mirengoff writes: “I can think of very few cases in which violent left-wing protesters received sentences of eight months or more in connection last year’s rioting. And, again, Hodgkins wasn’t charged with, and apparently did not engage in, violent conduct.”
Mirengoff also notes that a Capitol police officer (whom we now know to be Lt. Michael Byrd) shot and killed an unarmed female protester, Ashli Babbitt — a shooting which the government hasn’t even attempted to explain to the American people. And yet Hodgkins, the flag-waver with no priors, gets eight months. “It’s clear to me that there are two criminal law standards at work in this context,” says Mirengoff — “one for left-wing protesters and one for right-wingers. But we shouldn’t be surprised. There are also two free speech standards along the same lines.”
To be clear, Hodgkins pleaded guilty. And he was guilty. As the Examiner reported, “Hodgkins left Florida on a bus with a backpack, and inside it was rope, protective goggles, and latex gloves, which [prosecutors] argue shows he was prepared for violence.” He wasn’t some average Trump supporter who simply got swept up in the moment.
But still, what we’re beginning to see here as the January 6 prosecutions roll out is a clear case of two-tiered justice: one tier for those on the Left, and one for those on the Right. In some cases, as we’ve noted previously, the punishment is also cruel and unusual.
Speaking of two tiers: Why hasn’t Hunter Biden had his day in court yet yet?
(Updated to include additional legal analysis.)
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