Invoking the Great Task of Ensuring “the Government of the People Shall Not Perish from the Earth,” Judge Moss Sentences Paul Hodgkins to Eight Months Sentence

Judge Randolph Moss just sentenced Paul Hodgkins to eight months in prison for his role in the January 6 riot. Hodgkins will face two years of probation and pay the $2,000 restitution agreed on in his plea agreement (though will not be fined). The sentence was about what I expected, and a fair sentence for someone who pled guilty first and engaged in no violence (and even tried to calm other rioters).

As I noted here, the important part of this sentence is how Moss got to the sentence. Moss treated January 6 as a grave danger to democracy, and set a sentence to send a message to deter others from engaging in similar behavior. But he also noted that Hodgkins pled guilty first, and did not engage in violence. He even noted that Hodgkins had not engaged in inflammatory speech online, as virtually all January 6 defendants charged with obstruction have. That is, Moss sentenced Hodgkins roughly according to this hypothetical I laid out:

Judge Randolph Moss might explain that he finds Hodgkins’ behavior to be a grave threat to democracy and say that with any other similarly situated defendant, he would sentence him to the maximum sentence in his guideline, 21 months, but because Hodgkins went first, Moss will give him a significant downward variance; that would allow him and all other DC judges to sentence hold-outs more severely than Hodgkins.

Moss emphasized two things about Hodgkins’ conduct that worked against him. First, that he wore goggles, indicating that he came prepared to defend his position. More tellingly, Moss noted that Hodgkins brought a Trump flag and waved it around in the well of the Capitol, an expression of loyalty to a single individual, not loyalty to the American flag.

This is not the baseline sentence for all January 6 rioters accused of obstruction. It is a sentence that was available to Hodgkins and few others, at least in Judge Moss’ courtroom.

Hodgkins made a statement, one that was more effective than the pleas of his attorney. He started by saying, “I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I am remorseful, because of the damage that has been caused that the country I love has been hurt.” He noted that he did not place blame on any politician. He emphasized that he recognizes that Joe Biden is the lawfully elected President. He noted that on a few occasions, he tried to get people to stop trashing the joint. He stated he put passion before principle.

As noted, LeDuc’s comments were less powerful, at times claiming he was the only one whose job it was to protect the country, and denying that January 6 had been a terrorist attack. He invoked Lincoln’s effort to heal the country after the Civil War.

Judge Moss retorted that people were prowling the halls of Congress looking to target Nancy Pelosi. He asked LeDuc why he hadn’t quoted Lincoln invoking, “the great task remaining before us,” to ensure the government, “by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Before Moss imposed the sentence, he reiterated how much damage this attack did to democracy, when members were forced to flee for their safety.

That is chilling, for many reasons. To start, democracy requires cooperation with the govt. When a mob threatens Capitol, democracy is in trouble. Damage is way beyond several hour delay. Damage will persist for decades.

He cited Reagan describing our peaceful transfer of power as a miracle. He noted that it “will be harder to convince children that democracy stands as immutable foundation of nation.”

And he emphasized, throughout, that this was a sentence for Paul Hodgkins, not a sentence for all the defendants.

As noted, I think this is a reasonable sentence for Hodgkins. And the way Moss got to the sentence leaves himself and other judges plenty of room to impose harsher sentences to defendants who did more to threaten democracy.

116 replies
  1. Wajim says:

    Eight months in a federal prison is precisely eight more than I would ever want to endure, and why I tend to avoid committing federal felonies in general. Just sayin’. Can’t imagine the 51-60 month (or more) taxpayer funded federal vacations coming up for some of Hodgkin’s fellow MAGA warriors

    • Lady4real says:

      Some MAGA rioters are going to wish they had some good time. credits built up instead of being allowed to convalesce at home while awaiting trial. They’re going to get a real wake up call.

  2. Norskeflamethrower says:

    First of all, I’m doin’ this on my phone so my call sign and double top secret handshake might not be quite right, so I’m sorry in advance Rayne. But this sentence and the statements of the judge,particularly the felon’s attorney, are especially reassuring. The sentence itself, if everything were equal in the application of the law in this country, would also be reassuring, but thinking about what a BLM protester would get under similar circumstances takes the bloom offa the rose. Thank you EW (and even Bmaz in this instance) for your clear headed analysis and ability to assist folks like me off the ledge.

    • Rayne says:

      He may have gotten 8 months time followed by probation, but the mid-term election is in ~16 months. Hodgkins will be physically out and able to threaten the next election. He should have pointedly been denied that opportunity.

        • Rayne says:

          But the kind of flag — or t-shirt, or hat, or tattoo — the perp was carrying as an expression of their First Amendment rights is? While they are subverting an election with their presence?

          We’re going to agree to disagree on this. This was an attack on the foundations of this country, a crime against all Americans, and every perp who got inside the Capitol building should receive the minimum because their presence obstructed Congress’s operations, with more time based on the increased severity of their acts.

          • bmaz says:

            This guy will NOT be voting in 2022. And sentencing based upon the thought of some future election would be a heinous wrong that would be certainly set aside. I know people are crazy over 1/6, but just no. Adding, he will still be on probation for the 2022 election, so, no, he will not be free to go affect it.

            • Rugger9 says:

              Also to your point, if Hodgkins violates his probation terms that means a trip back to custody. Did his probation terms prohibit campaigning?

              • bmaz says:

                To my knowledge, no, but have not seen the actual sentencing entry. And do not think that be a valid term and condition anyway.

            • Norskeflamethrower says:

              Spot on Bman, in the application of the law jurists must consciously fight the influence of the political and the personal even though they are always there. I think many folks are sick and tired of the two tiered application of the law which, by definition smothers justice.

            • Tracy Lynn says:

              I didn’t think Rayne was referring to voting when she wrote that he would be physically out and able to threaten the next election.

              • bmaz says:

                That is irrelevant. Hodgkins will be on supervised release. If he does anything whatsoever untoward the election he will get rolled up. And he will not even be voting.

          • Troutwaxer says:

            I don’t think the argument here should be a criminal justice argument, but an argument about how we can avoid a situation akin to the after-effects of the Beer Hall Putsch. What we don’t want is the “Hitler got out in nine months and went right back to organizing against German democracy” pattern being followed here.

            What we do want is the “Hitler got out in nine years, after Germany had become stable and economically secure, so there was no point in organizing against the government” thing to happen here. It might also be good to pay some attention to making sure that guys like Hodgkins don’t get further radicalized in jail – maybe we can give these guys credit towards early release for doing stuff like actually learning something about history and civics! I’m not sure how that would work practically, but I’d be happy to figure something out!

          • bmaz says:

            And WE THE PEOPLE prosecuted him. The government does not get a “victim’s advocate” since they are, indeed, the prosecutors. This case went just fine. People really need to chill.

    • pasha says:

      as a florida resident, the felony conviction will bar him from owning weapons, bar voting until he pays court costs, and mar his future employment prospects and possibly his credit score. his subsequent probation will keep him in line for another two years. i think the sentence sends the right message, that this is now the sentencing ground floor and that others should rush to make plea deals while they still can

  3. klynn says:

    I grew extremely frustrated by LeDuc. He came off as though he was the better one to judge the sentencing. I found many of his statements extremely out of place.

    • bmaz says:

      There were several things apparently said by LeDuc that I would not have. That said, he did a very good job for his client overall, and that is all that counts.

      • klynn says:

        While I agree with you on his work for his client, he made some comments that were terrible for democracy. When he spoke as someone who serves the nation and is about to be redeployed, some of the concepts and language he invoked as a lawyer who is also a member of the military, were deeply concerning. I got the impression he agreed with the motives of his client. I am quite thankful Judge Moss pushed back with better views on preserving and upholding democracy. But what I heard may be a mishearing for IANAL.

      • TooLoose LeTruck says:

        If you have a moment, what did LeDuc say that you wouldn’t have?

        And also, you don’t sound disappointed or frustrated at his sentence (8 months), correct?

        Does Hodgkins seem genuinely remorseful, or was he just trying to save himself from a harsher sentence?

        • bmaz says:

          LeDuc argued that the matter was analogous to Lincoln pardoning the Confederate officers, and other suspect analogies. LeDuc also argued that it was “gaslighting” by the government to even suggest that 1/6 was “domestic terrorism”. Frankly, I have a bit of sympathy for that thought generally, but it is just not something you argue in open court at sentencing.

          • mass interest says:

            The phrase “domestic terrorism” seems to be a flashpoint. Am I being obtuse, or is that because there is no statute defining and naming such?

            • bmaz says:

              Yes, there is no such statute (it is mentioned as a one off term elsewhere) and I consider it extremely dangerous to contemplate formalizing it statutorily. There are plenty of criminal laws to cover conduct already.

              • Norskeflamthrower says:

                I’m afraid I gotta (reluctantly) agree with you. It seems to me that blatantly political acts which are criminal by existing law should be charged as criminal, including stuff like 9/11.

                • TooLoose LeTruck says:

                  Just wanted to say I agree w/ you on this one.

                  I remember that debate back around 9/11, and at the time I thought, and still do, that terrorists s/b prosecuted under the appropriate existing criminal statues… to do otherwise seems to elevate their status and give them them the attention they’ve been looking for all along, and don’t deserve…

                  Terrorists are not government actors… they’re just criminals and s/b treated as such.

                  Thank you, and that is all…

                  • P J Evans says:

                    Yeah, isn’t that why we have laws covering stuff like that? I though criminal prosecution would be fine, and we have some extremely secure prisons – it isn’t like they’d be allowed to run loose before or after conviction.

                    • TooLoose LeTruck says:

                      Back in the late 70’s, I spent ONE day inside a real prison (Vacaville), helping set up and run the PA system for a benefit concert…

                      Scared THE CRAP outta me… I decided after that one day that there really wasn’t anything I wanted to do so badly that might get me incarcerated in a place like that… just saying… pretty sure those eight months are going to be the longest eight months of Hodgkins’ life…

              • Troutwaxer says:

                “…I consider it extremely dangerous to contemplate formalizing it statutorily.”

                Agreed completely.

          • TooLoose LeTruck says:


            Thank you for taking the time to explain that in a little more detail…

            Like I’ve said multiple times, I come for the articles and stay for the commentary…

  4. Frank Probst says:

    I’m good with this.

    As everyone has already pointed out, this was a “clean” case. There’s no evidence he was involved with anything or anyone fishy prior to 1/6. There’s no evidence of violence against property or law enforcement. He seems genuinely remorseful (or at least has an attorney who was able to convince him to make a reasonable show at faking it, and I’m so cynical at this point that I give people credit for that). And it looks like he got time shaved off his sentence–and it sound like the judge did NOT say exactly how much time–for being the first the simply plead guilty without going to trial, and then take his chances with a judge.

    And while this may not be a “marker” that Judge Moss set for judges to follow in future sentencings, it sends a very clear message to the other insurrectionists and the American public that the crime Paul Hodgkins was charged with–and that many of the other insurrectionists have been charged with–is more than simply taking an unscheduled tour of the Capitol. What happened on 1/6 was a Big Fucking Deal, and a lot of people are going to spend a lot of time in prison for it.

    • FL Resister says:

      “What happened on 1/6 was a Big Fucking Deal, and a lot of people are going to spend a lot of time in prison for it.”

      While the people they influenced, encouraged, and even paid for are being systemically and categorically sorted and brought up on charges, we have yet to see any of the planners, plotters, and instigators of the Jan 6th Capitol breach held to account for ANYTHING.

      Right now, the folks who bought the ticket are starting to pay the price.

      However, the people that brought these people together, filled their heads with lies, and instigated the violence, particularly Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani, are not.
      Everyone who spoke that day, bussed them in, and have supported this uprising since, should investigated, brought in for questioning, and be held accountable for whatever charges that are available to the US justice system in this case.

      Many of us watched in amazement and horror as hour after hour went by, and yet the Capitol rioters were not stopped, became even more of a threat until about 1 p.m., as they were about to gain access to the House Chamber with legislators still inside, Ashli Babbitt was shot.

      Yet even that was not the end of it.
      We collective people out here want to see justice done and must see not only the people who stormed the Capitol and threatened the lives of our legislators face criminal charges and real jail time, but also the ones who helped them get there and filled their heads with lies and incendiary ideas.

      • FL Resister says:

        My apologies, I should have looked up this timeline first:

        “2:44 p.m.: Rioter Ashli Babbitt is shot by Capitol Police while attempting to force entry into the Speaker’s Lobby adjacent to the House chambers by climbing through a window that led to the House floor.”

        “5:20 p.m.: The first contingent of 155 Guard members, dressed in riot gear, began arriving at the Capitol.”
        And we still don’t have cogent answers about why the delay.

        • Cthulhu says:

          Let us not forget that panic buttons were ripped out of Democratic Senators offices prior to the attempted coup, and we STILL don’t have answers as to who or why. And it seems everyone in DC and in the media have forgotten it.

      • Ravenclaw says:

        Sure, most of the 500+ people charged to date were “only” useful idiots willing to act violently against their own government. But last time I checked their number included about 40 who were charged with conspiracy, who were among the planners/plotters of sedition. And a *few* of them were cooperating with prosecutors, meaning that others are likely to be exposed. How far up the food chain will those “others” go? We have to wait and see. My guess (and it’s barely an educated guess) is that evidence pointing to some of the more public faces (look out, Rudie) will emerge, though perhaps not enough to power prosecution. But if there were little moles behind the scenes doing things like delaying deployment of the Guard, the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers and what-not won’t even know who they are.

  5. Fran of the North says:

    Before I came to know and love this site and it’s denizens, I would have decried Hodgkins’ sentence as a travesty, a miscarriage of justice. Now I see that ‘throw the book at ’em’ might satisfy blood lust, but doesn’t necessarily translate to justice.

    This sentence has probably struck fear in a lot of evil hearts. The presumed slap on the wrist has suddenly turned into REAL consequences.

    Thank you all for connecting the dots that don’t necessarily form patterns for the non-initiated, and the reasoned (if not sometimes vigorous) commentary that enlightens rather than enrage.

    Best, Fran

    • timbo says:

      Hmm. Evil hearts aren’t going to be too concerned about this poor guy’s sentence I suspect…and that’s the problem when one falls in with sociopaths. Sociopaths really have zero remorse for the problems they cause for the other folks they use to get what the sociopath wants. That’s why it is incredibly important that the government and the DP roll all the sociopaths they can up with regard to the Jan 6 insurrection. Failing to put a clamp on any leading sociopaths results in nothing more than more chaos and mayhem unfortunately.

  6. Savage Librarian says:

    I am grateful that the rule of law seems to be prevailing. Hodgkins’ sentence sets a necessary and resolute tone for the egregious actions that right wing fanatics committed against democracy.
    I am especially impressed at how swiftly this case has been resolved, which is beneficial to all parties and to the nation as a whole.

    It is my hope that this action will have an impact on government, both large and small. What may have been covered up in state and local settings in the past might now have a better chance of resolving to the benefit of communities throughout the country.

    Having been on the receiving end of behavior similar to this, on a much smaller scale in a public library, I have to say that Hodgkins’ sentence really looks like progress to me on many levels. Back then, people like him were ignored or even rewarded. People like me were victimized and then punished by governments who should have protected us.

    So, yes, this definitely feels like progress to me. Still, I have been deeply aggrieved that this ugly side of politics had to come to our nation’s Capitol before any meaningful action would be taken to uphold values that govern all of us.

    • Yancy says:

      I’m so sorry you went through such a negative experience, only for it to be followed by the government shamelessly adding insult to injury..
      ,Although it am unaware of the details of what happened you’re casepart,. (Would appreciate a link that furthers my understanding of the event, but I understand you may be hesitant to be targeted again by like-minded individuals.) I’m a relative newbie here, thus unfamiliar with many of the regu

      I am heartened by your attitude towards the progress being made in this area. I hope G

      • Yancy says:

        Please excuse my typos and other obvious errors. Still trying to get the hang of new iPad Pro. Total PITA.

    • Cthulhu says:

      Sadly, but respectfully, I disagree. I don’t see the rule of law prevailing, I see it failing. Despite a mountain of evidence, including their own words, not one of these…people have been charged with sedition, and as accessories to murder as they should have been, nor have any of the instigators at the top been charged. This was an attempted coup, and should have been treated as such by the prosecutors from the start. All we’re seeing is a bunch of hand slapping and “Go forth and sin no more” nonsense. This virtually guarantees that this will happen again.

      • bmaz says:

        Bullshit. The rule of law is doing just fine as to the 1/6 cases. The federal felony murder rule would not apply, so that is completely false posit. Applying seditious conspiracy charges would be groundbreaking, hard to prove, and a pretty bad idea. Per CNN,

        “nearly 200 of those 500 defendants have been charged with obstructing the congressional proceedings on January 6 to count the electoral votes and finalize President Joe Biden’s victory. That felony charge has a maximum sentence of 20 years — the same punishment as the sedition charge but more tailored to the situation of blocking Congress’ certification of the Electoral College result.”

        And that is exactly right. Not to mention, blithely tacking on a sedition count would add absolutely nothing to any of these cases because, even if a conviction could be obtained at trial (and I would certainly take any such charge to trial, because would probably win on that and it would soil any other charges), it would still be concurrent to any obstruction conviction and sentencing. In short, it adds absolutely nothing. DOJ is totally right to not be charging that. As I repeatedly have to say, people should seriously calm down and chill out, the 1/6 cases are moving along smartly and speedily.

  7. harpie says:

    It seems like a just outcome.
    I was glad Moss brought up the flag thing…that’s something I’ve been simmering about…
    especially against those who carried the confederate insurrectionist flag inside the Capitol.

    • klynn says:


      As an “IANAL reader,” following the 1/6 cases is difficult. While there are individuals who were harmed, there is a bigger picture of protecting democracy that clouds my judgement, or enhances it, depending on perspective. I rely on EW to help understand the process and make sure my lens is centered on carrying out the law.

      There are cases in our judicial system where the crime is individual vs individual. There are cases where it is individual vs institution. Others that are institutional structures vs individuals. Others that are groups vs groups.

      The 1/6 cases seem difficult to process at times and get a sense that justice has been or is being done. Judge Moss noting the “grave danger to democracy” and need to set a sentencing that “serves to deter” were important acknowledgements to have addressed by the judge. As a citizen, it created an assurance that more than just individual actions against police and public property were being weighed on the scale of justice.

      I’ve worried as a “values based defense” has sometimes been the language picked up by the media, forgetting the value of democracy.

      • Cthulhu says:

        These traitors tore down the American flag to raise the trump flag. That should be enough for any judge to see where their loyalties lay, and it’s not with the Constitution or the country.

          • Rayne says:

            That’s a bit disingenuous. The word “traitor” is like “collusion” – it doesn’t have meaning within U.S. code. One can still be a traitor and have not committed treason, which has a specific meaning in code as you know.

            While traitor can refer in legal terms to someone who’s committed treason, traitor more broadly means “one who betrays another’s trust or is false to an obligation or duty,” which insurrectionists have done by violating federal law, most especially those who swore oaths to defend the Constitution as required by their employment.

            The bigger problem in Cthulhu’s comment, which I’m surprise you as a First Amendment absolutist didn’t note, is that tearing down the American flag is First Amendment speech unless the flag in question is federal property.

            • bmaz says:

              Lol, “traitor” does not mean diddly shit legally, as you admit. It is, however, synonymous with “treason”, which clearly does not, and cannot, apply to the 1/6 acts. I really don’t give a damn about the flag actions, to the extent they apply to individuals.

  8. sls642 says:

    Does anyone know anything about Hodgkins background? Can’t find out much about him.
    Everyone in the insurrection should be treated as the threat to our country that they were and likely remain. This one brought goggles, rope and latex gloves in a backpack with him to the Capitol while carrying a Trump flag. He saw the insane violence and didn’t walk away. Even shot selfies to mark the occasion.

    This was an extraordinary event and should be treated as such. They tried and failed (so far) to destroy our country and they should suffer the same fate. Eight months doesn’t begin to match this crime. There wouldn’t be a Trump without people like Hodgkins. If Trump vanished, they would find a replacement. All Trump did was say out loud what they thought but wouldn’t say. I have privately heard the same insanity since Nixon. Even the same slogans, flags everything. Probably Goldwater supporters at their core were the same. And McCarthy’s.

    This was an unprecedented attack on our democracy and should be treated as such. Eight months is laughable.

    • bmaz says:

      Bullshit. Sentencing is on an individual basis, and done via the relative elements the court finds. It is NOT run off of raw emotions like you express. This sentence was fine.

      And you know who actually did know about “his background”? The PO and court did, that’s who.

    • vicks says:

      There is quite a bit of space between entering a sacred place illegally, and using violence to enter, and then desecrate a sacred place.

      • Ryan says:

        Agreed, generally. But I appreciate that sls mentioned the gloves. That seems like an under-explored sign of nefarious planning. The guy doesn’t look like a germaphobe.

          • Atomic Shadow says:

            “So wearing gloves is an aggravating factor in spite of the thorough facts and allocution?”

            Not even in disagreement, but I just have to say that is sooooo Sheldon!

        • John Paul Jones says:

          Sorry I can’t give chapter and verse but I recall reading (somewhere) that he had the gloves with him because he volunteers with some sort of first responders group? Again, sorry it’s so vague, but one reads a lot and doesn’t always bother to bookmark stuff. Plus, you know, age, memory, and so forth…..

          • e.a.f. says:

            642, can’t say I’d agree with you on the sentence. It is not laughable. don’t know if you’ve ever done 8 months in an American jail, but I’ve been given to understand its not a trip to the resort of the year. In my opinion, 8 months sends a message without being vindictive. If a sentence is too long it doesn’t serve a purpose. Its simply makes people more angry at the world. 8 months sends a message to the defendant and to others.

            An 8 month sentence is enough of a deterrent to others and to the defendant. It is very doubtful he’ll be doing this again.

            A lot of American jail/prison sentences are just plain silly given the length of them. You sometimes read people have been sentenced to life plus another 80 years or some such silly thing or 100 years. Like really. This judge got it right and kept it realistic.

    • russell penner says:

      Think I’ll join 642 on bmans s#&t list. These deplorables weren’t there to paint the watertower, their goal was ending representative democracy and establishing authoritarianism. ” When a mob threatens Capitol, democracy is in trouble “. Though like Judge Moss,I do feel a tinge of pity for this poor misguided soul whose whole life was trumpism and no doubt was happy just to be riding with the big boys…

  9. Zinsky says:

    A sensible yet harsh sentence and a prescient analysis of the moving parts of the sentencing decision for Mr. Hodgkins by Ms. Wheeler. I am even more hopeful that stiff justice will prevail for these essentially unAmerican Trump zealots who defiled our seat of government.

    • Molly Pitcher says:

      The way this was constituted, am I remembering correctly that Pelosi has the option to decline anyone that McCarthy proposes ? If so, I would REALLY like to have Gym Jordan blocked. Above and beyond having substantial fatigue with his antics, I would like to see these hearings held without his histrionics grabbing all the news feeds. Maybe some real newsworthy clips could then make it to the tangentially interested electorate.

      • P J Evans says:

        That’s what I seem to recall. And everyone seems to have expected McCarthy to do something like this. (He really isn’t very bright, is he? A smart person would have gone for the bipartisan commission at the start.)

        • e.a.f. says:

          Yes, one can ask what type of look is Jim Jordon going for. I asked myself that question. He looks under dressed for any occasion and then it hit me. He reminds me of some of those 50s/60s white sheriffs in the south who were terrorizing people of colour as they marched to get the right to vote. Even his “oily” hair reminds me of men of that time, who supported and tried to enforce segregation.

          I’m sure we will see Jim Jordon try his usual antics, but he may find he won’t get very far.

          When Jim Jordan gets “carried away” with his antics he simply comes across as silly, uneducated, poorly manner, and plain old dumb. He is the type, if you give them enough rope, they will hang themselves, figuratively speaking.

        • Cthulhu says:

          Jordan should only be allowed if he’s forced to wear a jacket. And a muzzle. Otherwise forget it.

      • timbo says:

        Yep, Pelosi did reserve the right to veto any of McCarthy’s picks I seem to recall as well. I’d say that she likely won’t bother removing Jordan, as long as there’s only one moron like Jordan on the committee. Basically, Cheney and Jordon can go at it on national TV and it will not help the GOP stay focused at all. It will only highlight the crazy nonsense that folks like Jordan are foisting on the country and alienate more and more women voters away from the GOP basically. At least that might be the calculation? Also, there’s the chance that some of he investigation might get waaay too close to some of Jordan’s allies and he may end up looking even more foolish as a result. And who doesn’t want to see a Jim Jordan begging the American people for forgiveness… or going down in flames… if the Committees knife cuts a bit close to Jim… McCarthy is proposing him to hopefully get some forgiveness from the Twisslerings in the GOP. I strongly doubt it’ll do either Jordan or McCarthy much good in the end…as long as the Select Committee is actually effective at shedding real light on the cockroaches that are undermining the country.

        • FL Resister says:

          Thanks for this reasoning.
          It helps make Jordon’s odious appointment to this important commission a little more palatable.

          • timbo says:

            Fingers crossed, right?

            I did predict that Pelosi would appoint Cheney—got some flak (over at a different site) for even suggesting that it might make political sense. Appointing Cheney forced McCarthy’s hand every which way. One lovely one was that if McCarthy didn’t pick those GOP members then maybe Pelosi would do more of the same for him! If N.P. doesn’t think that Jordan is going to help somehow at all then I’m guessing he’s gone. It basically forced McCarthy to appoint folks to try to counter Cheney’s voice on the committee.

            It’ll be interesting to see how much Pelosi wants to undermine McCarthy further as this Congress wends its way to where ever the F it is headed. McCarthy is not in a pretty position until at least the next elections… if he lasts that long.

      • Justlp says:

        I too, would give anything to not have to suffer through Jordan’s histrionics. He is so annoying! I read somewhere that Trump ordered McCarthy to assign Jordan to the committee and of course, McCarthy said “Sir, yes sir!” (As you must know… that’s what everyone says to Trump!) and did as he was told.

        • timbo says:

          Jordan’s one big waste of flap-doodle. The thing is though, he’s used to being protected. I don’t think McCarthy is going to protect him if Jordan puts his foot in too deeply tho. McCathy is in a precarious position himself, having been too unfaithful to Twittler on the one-hand already, and having little deep support that I can see from anyone…aside from any GOP powerbrokers in the House (if any!) that want to pull McCarthy’s strings? I mean, McCarthy does seem to tolerate a lot of bozos any self-respecting rational person would just jettison…but that will only take you so far, particularly if some of those bozos are being rounded up and put under oath.

        • Cthulhu says:

          We can expect Jordan to explode into histrionics any time someone gets anywhere near the truth, or evidence that he and other elected Republicans aided and abetted the attempted coup.

          • J R in WV says:

            And now we know that Speaker Pelosi has rejected Gym Jordan (R-OH) and Jim Banks (R-IN) from the 1/6 insurrection committee, and in response Qevin McQarthy has pulled all of his appointments from the committee.

            Personally, I hope McQarthy is eventually indicted for actions in support of the insurrection.

            • bmaz says:

              Who is “Qevin McCarthy”? What is that petty crap? And, as horrible as McCarthy is, what exactly is it you want him indicted for?? You are aware of the Speech and Debate protections afforded Congresspersons, no? Let’s not delve into stupidity here.

    • P J Evans says:

      Banks and Armstrong both voted to certify AZ and PA. They may not be good guys, but they’re slightly better than the other three.

  10. Rusty Austin says:

    I’ve had it with Garland. We’re obviously stuck with him, he was a terrible choice by Biden. We’ll see how it goes but early signs are not good. This is unprecedented in our history. Whether or not a prosecutor thinks he can win a case is not a good reason to refuse to do what is right in these circumstances. All these people should be charged with insurrection and sedition, not these mambsy pambsy trespassing charges. Treason, really, I don’t care that a foreign government is not involved. Fer chrissakes they attacked the US Capitol! They killed police! They built a gallows to hang Pence! They wanted to overthrow our government! Most other countries they’d a been shot or hung by now. Instead our government is shrugging its shoulders and walking away.

    • bmaz says:

      “Whether or not a prosecutor thinks he can win a case is not a good reason to refuse to do what is right in these circumstances.”
      Lol, that is literally the charging standard for the DOJ contained in their written guidelines. They are not supposed to charge a case the think they cannot win beyond a reasonable doubt.

      Treason? Really? You seem to understand how ridiculous that is.

      • Troutwaxer says:

        When were the DOJ guidelines written? And do the DOJ guidelines contemplate an assault by hundreds of people, with five deaths and more than a hundred law-enforcement officers hospitalized in an attempt keep an election from being certified? Or are they written with the idea that someone might unfurl a banner on the House Floor?

        • bmaz says:

          They have been around a very long time See: 9-27.220 – GROUNDS FOR COMMENCING OR DECLINING PROSECUTION.

          And, no, there are no exceptions or carve outs. Nor should there be.

          • Alan Charbonneau says:

            I’m a retired finance guy, not a lawyer. But even I can see the 1/6 investigation and it’s progress is getting results quickly.

            Comments equivalent to “throw the law out, I want these people to pay” are difficult even for this non-lawyer to hear. I can’t imagine how you endure it.

            • bmaz says:

              A simple conspiracy case is almost never fully completed on charging, nor wrapped up in six months, much less a vast and complex one like this. But that is easy for me to understand, less so for those that do not ply these waters. I am used to it, and just plug along trying to remind people.

              • Troutwaxer says:

                So under the law and the sentencing guidlines, how bad does someone’s behavior have to be before they get ten or twenty years. Can you provide examples?

                • bmaz says:

                  Specific cases, no. But generally, except for first degree murders, defendants almost never get maxed out, i.e. the statutory maximum. Nor should they. There are two types of factors in sentencing, mitigating, i.e. favorable to the defendant, and aggravating, i.e. favorable to the government and against the defendant. It would take one hell of a lot of aggravating factors on these obstruction charges to get up to ten or twenty years, and twenty is the statutory max.

                  And, note, this is why criminal defense lawyers shriek when journalists report “Mr. X is charged with ___ crime which carries a sentence up to 20 years”. But the presumptive guidelines sentence is almost always going to be 1-5 years. But people out in public do not know that, get all emotionally attached and want the blood of the maxed out 20 years. And that is why we try to be realistic here.

    • Ravenclaw says:

      I’ll agree that the storming of the Capitol was part of a seditious conspiracy to overthrow the U.S. Constitution and its democratically elected officials. But the government hasn’t had a lot of success with sedition cases, at least not when levied against right-wing extremists. The Hutaree Militia, the Order, the so-called ‘great sedition trial’ and the less famous one a few years earlier – all ended with charges dismissed, mistrials, or hung juries. Maybe the prosecutors reporting to Garland are figuring that they’d rather ‘win on points’ than go for a knockout and fail.

      • Rusty Austin says:

        He destroyed property and committed assault the second he crossed a police barrier. I respect the legal process. But like anything else there’s a spectrum. I’m saying DOJ is prejudiced to the most lenient part of the spectrum in this case. Occam’s Razor says that’s to cover their ass. There’s a very solid argument to be made that the unprecedented facts of this event call for an unprecedented reaction. No amount of DOJ hiding behind the skirts of “we’ve always done it this way”changes that fact.

      • timbo says:

        Well, at least they had some success with this case so far. And that will put pressure on many other folks to plea and/or squeal.

        • Ravenclaw says:

          Timbo – That was my point, really. I was responding to a thread that began with demands for more serious charges (insurrection, treason, sedition) by pointing out that those charges are very difficult to make ‘stick,’ even when justified, while the approach DOJ is taking now is more likely to lead to actual convictions.

  11. hollywood says:

    These people need to be sentenced one by one no matter how many flags they wave and put away for months and years. No matter how much remorse they try to claim, they should be given severe but just sentences. Then, Trump and family should follow them into prison.

  12. Leoghann says:

    I’ve been amused, but not amazed, to see so many people who probably lay claim to liberal, or even leftist, sensibilities, as they enthusiastically embrace mob rule. Referring to any of those arrested, previously or in the future, for their actions on or leading up to the January 6th insurrection as “those people” reminds me of all the white conservatives (the “I’m not a racist” kind) who were asking in the Eighties and Nineties, “what do you people want?” Each of these people, even the ones whose trials are joined, will be treated as an individual, and the punishment for the crimes of which they’re convicted will be meted out individually. It’s the law. If we onlookers aren’t willing to respect the legal process, why in the hell are we criticizing the Trumpsters and white supremacists for their obvious disrespect for it? Paul Hodgkins traveled from Florida to join the crowd at the Stop the Steal rally on January 6th. Clearly he took inspiration from others to make his decision to do so, and to join the crowd as they marched to the Capitol and put it under siege. But he didn’t destroy any property, he didn’t bring others with him or assume a leadership or cheerleader role, and he didn’t assault anyone. Because of that same American legal tradition of trying and sentencing people individually, you can rest assured that those who did all those things, and are convicted of doing so, will receive stiffer sentences, as each of their cases merits.

    Oh, and one other thing. I fully agree with e.a.f., above, and will go one step further. I guaran-damn-tee you (and would love to hear any stories to the contrary) that none of you who are saying “ONLY EIGHT MONTHS??!!?” have ever done any time in jail. Eight months, or two months, or five years of having your freedom taken away, being under both constant surveillance and in constant close contact with a bunch of people you would have never chosen as companions, and being completely under the power of a bunch of corrections officers whose hiring standards did not require either an IQ test or a proof of empathetic ability, is hell.

    • bmaz says:

      Yes, well said. As to jail, you are right. But note that this will almost certainly be set by BOP to be served at an actual prison facility. They are, truly, different. Jails are a special hell; so too are prisons, but prisons usually more comfortable. Not that any of it is “comfortable”.

      • Leoghann says:

        You’re right, bmaz–every level of incarceration is a different level of unpleasant. In the interest of brevity [who, me?], I lumped them all under the term “jail.” Even so, characterizing eight months in a federal prison as “a little inconvenience” isn’t in the realm of reality.

        • bmaz says:

          Even the famed “Club Feds” are still prison. Are they better than Supermax? Sure, but still not where anybody would want to be.

    • Rayne says:

      I take the ongoing threat to the democratic process seriously as a staunch believer in liberal democracy. When Hodgkins along with other “tourists” pushed his way through this just to enter the building and walk around on the Senate floor, he wasn’t just trespassing on federal property, slipping past a cordon into a restricted hallway. He was intent on obstructing Congress’s operations, thereby denying the American people the honest services to which they are entitled by the Constitution.
      January 6, 2021 insurrection at U.S. Capitol Bldg (Photo Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)
      That persons who obtained access to a restricted area on federal property relying on the efforts of others — those who committed violence against police and breaking and entering to provide egress — should simply walk away with a little inconvenience is beyond me.

      As DOJ noted about Hodgkins’ plea, “Hodgkins pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing an official proceeding, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, fine of $250,000 or twice the monetary gain or loss of the offense.” [18 USC 1512(c)(2)] Eight months, probation, and a fine less than 10% of what could have been charged is a cake walk.

      Now we’ll have to wonder if Hodgkins and other “tourists” like him will see this as weakness in this nation’s resolve to protect its democracy; was this just the Beer Hall Putsch before the Reichstag to come? Hitler only served nine months for his participation in the putsch instead of five years; how might history have changed if he’d served five years instead for treason with which he was charged?

      • Ravenclaw says:

        But Hodgkins isn’t the Hitler here, is he? Just another yahoo marching out of the beer hall hollering that it’s time to act. In fact we’re lucky there was no real Hitler involved, nobody worse than a set of Rohms and Hesses. (Which is pretty bad, but not the stuff of which history-changing events are mostly made.) The Big Man was busy watching TV and too fundamentally timid to try to take effective action. Besides, it took Hitler ten more years to win power, and in 10 years you-know-who (age 84?) will be either dead or a doddering, wobbling pile of senility. I don’t actually think his medical/cognitive state will be up to another presidential run in ’24 (let’s hope those words don’t come back to bite me).

        Guess I’m saying that I’m okay with modest sentences for the useful idiots – they’ll still lose plenty – as long as the actual conspirators who get convicted are assigned more stringent ones.

        • Rayne says:

          It took Hitler ten more years to win power“…you need to go back and look at those 10 years, keeping in mind the 10th year was a rapid collapse:

          The day after the fire, at Hitler’s request, President Hindenburg signed the Reichstag Fire Decree into law by using Article 48 of the Weimar Constitution. The Reichstag Fire Decree suspended most civil liberties in Germany, including habeas corpus, freedom of expression, freedom of the press, the right of free association and public assembly, and the secrecy of the post and telephone. [Wikipedia:Reichstag fire]

          Now ask yourself what Hitler could have done and in what period of time if he’d had social media platforms like Facebook immediately following his nine months in jail.

      • Randy Miller says:

        I agree with your statements Rayne. I keep reading here about context in the prosecution and sentencing of Hodgkins, to “explain” the judge’s lenient ruling. Where are all the previous cases to look to of people storming and rioting through the Capitol building, assaulting police, breaking and entering, threatening elected officials, attacking the media, and directly trashing the Constitution by disrupting the electoral vote certification (to name some but not all offenses)? There aren’t any. This was a unique historical event with an opportunity for the judge(s) to set a profound precedent, upon which to base future prosecutions of violent insurrectionists. It sure seems like a failure of justice.

        • bmaz says:

          Lol, this is a real court that acted, not internet outrage. Real courts operate on individual facts and circumstances. Judge Moss did a very good job on the whole.

          • Randy Miller says:

            Internet outrage? Not quite. Outrage at real-life insurrection that unfolded before our eyes. An outright, blatant attack on democracy and constitutional mandates. Really unprecedented in US history. But I guess the interpretation of law never travels along new pathways, always looking to the past, to established precedent before passing judgement, is that right? It’s just hard to find a precedent for 1/6.

            • bmaz says:

              Naw, that is total internet bloviating, things are a little more buttoned down in real court.

            • timbo says:

              You have to use the laws you have, not the laws you wish you had. And you also have to decide whether or not you want to have a less or more biased judiciary when it comes to criminal defendants in federal (and state, and local, etc) courts. Our Bill of Rights guarantees defendants the presumption of innocence, etc. In that sense, each individual is entitled to a jury trial, etc, etc, not summary judgement.

              Our legal system currently seems to be handling it so I’m not complaining too much as yet. Others may disagree…and obviously do. However, if you don’t want to find yourself under arbitrary arrest and sentencing, it’s probably better to support the current system then some sort of pie-in-the-sky imaginary “perfect system” that rounds up your political opponents and hands them stiff sentences for daring to question the current order of things. Right?

    • J R in WV says:

      I understand this particular defendant had rope with him as he entered the Capitol on 1/6/21 — what was the purpose of that rope? Surely to do damage to persons to be captured on site~!!~

      Was he intending to restrain — kidnap — Democratic politicians?

      Or was he hoping to hang V P Pence?

      Either intention requires more than 8 months in prison. I’ll bet aweek’s pay he wasn’t going to use it as a leash for his companion dog!!

  13. skua says:

    If Hodgkins had gone a step or two further and taken responsibility for having chosen to believe Trump’s Big Lie and undertaken to be more critical in future then the 8 months would fit better.
    As it is, “I loved the President/woman/car and did bad and regretted things because of that” doesn’t quite arrive.

    • klynn says:

      I “get” your concern.

      It is difficult, after Indiana grandma’s faux apology to the court – followed by a tv interview that confirmed her court performance as a faux apology, to take any of the apologies or statements of remorse from 1/6 defendants going forward as genuine. Viewing them as performative, self-preservation seems a safer bet. When the leader the defendants followed used deception as a tool, one cannot help wonder if his followers are doing the same in court. That “step or two further” would improve my trust level that there really is accountability and changed hearts and minds are happening through our justice system.

      Otherwise, we risk a “rinse and repeat,” or as known to the faith based a “cheap grace” moment.

    • bmaz says:

      Skua, that is exactly what he did yesterday. So, if that is your “if only”, it was satisfied on the record and in open court.

      • skua says:

        bmaz, I missed that in the tweet reports.

        Your sometimes harsh approach has resulted in me guarding pretty well against bloodlust.
        I appreciate what you do in pointing us towards humanity.

        • bmaz says:

          I don’t know about the “humanity” part, but Hodgkins quite clearly checked those boxes off yesterday. Now, was he sincere, or just well prepared? Only time will tell I guess. But he was well prepared at a minimum.

      • Leoghann says:

        I tend to be less trusting in elocutions of regret that often accompany sentencing hearings, being of the opinion, “you can say anything in court, as long as there’s no proof to the contrary.” But my cynicism doesn’t change the fact that elocution is an honored part of the proceedings in the eyes of many judges and attorneys. I’m giving Hodgkins the benefit of the doubt on his sincerity. I asked, in a comment on an earlier post, whether the “sorry, not sorry LOL” antics of that Indiana grandmother, Anna Morgan-Lloyd, as well as some of the politicians who have supported the insurrection, might wind up causing judges and juries to ignore future courtroom statements of contrition, and haven’t seen any opinions on that, yet. Where sentencing elocutions are concerned, right now we’re at 1-1, sincere vs insincere. One thing I know is that, unlike Morgan-Lloyd, Hodgkins won’t be doing any Newsmax interviews from federal lockup.

        • timbo says:

          That’s why hopefully there are well trained judges, and supporting organs, in our judicial system, the defense lawyers, prosecutors, etc that can help cut through the obvious tendency of some defendants to lie to get out of crap that they are guilty of. It’s hard to come up with what is “fair”, comports with with the law and equitable enforcement, etc, but it is not impossible to at least get to some ballpark judgements that weigh the actual likelihood of contrition during sentencing…we hope.

  14. foggycoast says:

    i tend to agree with bmaz. two things i am curious about: 1) is there time off for good behavior that could reduce hodgkin’s time in prison and 2) is the sentencing guidelines for a second offense sufficient to really test whether their remorse was genuine? perhaps rayne’s and other’s penalty concerns would be less so if the sentence for a second offense is a minimum of 10 years in a federal pen.

    • bmaz says:

      1) No. On a sentence of one year or less, you will serve 100% of the sentence. For sentences of more than a year, you serve 85% of your sentence, but then are into a halfway program and supervised release.(FWIW, this is why you sometimes see a sentence of “one year and a day”, because the court understands that is actually kinder than just one year.)

      2) Yes, conviction of another offense, with a prior conviction, gets very harsh very fast.

  15. Bobster33 says:

    No one has talked about the important thing. Can the defendant still own a gun after completing his sentence?

  16. Badger Robert says:

    A criminal prosecution is not the conclusion of a war. Any comparison to end of the US Civil War is dumb. The Confederates surrendered with guns in their hands. They were ready to kill for the cause as many had proven with their lives. Getting them to surrender without having to hunt them down in every county in south was an imperative. More than imperative, it was an emergency. And Lincoln never pardoned the Confederate soldiers, Andrew Johnson issued most of the pardons.
    The current situation is a lot more like Grant and Ackerman going after the Klan in South Carolina. They were successful and the freedmen got to vote in one more free election.
    Ackerman succeeded by getting a lot of guilty pleas and saving his resources for trials of the worst offenders.
    As for imprisoning these foot soldiers who were Trump’s pawns, it is not going to have much affect. Go after the Trump Inauguration money and put the queen of Trumplandia in jeopardy and get her to switch sides. She is the one that can say the whole thing was a scam from the start.
    Thanks again to Ms. Wheeler for all you do for the public.

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