Kevin Fairlamb and Jacob Chansley Sentences Affirm Judicial Legitimacy

Today, Judge Royce Lamberth sentenced Jacob Chansley, the QAnon Shaman, to 41 months of prison for obstructing the vote certification on January 6. The sentence comes a week after Lamberth sentenced Kevin Fairlamb to the same 41 month sentence; Fairlamb pled guilty to both obstructing the vote and assault, for punching a cop.

Here’s my livethread of the Fairlamb sentencing. Here’s my livethread of the Chansley sentencing.

Whatever you think of these sentences, there were some themes from both worth taking away.

First, the defense attorneys in both cases spoke at length about how honorably the AUSAs on the case — Leslie Goemaat for Fairlamb, and Kimberly Paschall for Chansley — had acted throughout the prosecution. “The decency of prosecutors like this serve only to elevate the entire criminal justice system,” Fairlamb’s lawyer, Harley Breite stated. Chansley’s lawyer, Al Watkins, welcomed of Kimberly Paschall’s ability to see Chansley as an indivdiual. (Chansley also thanked Lamberth for ensuring he’d have access to organic food in accordance with his shamanic faith.)

In both cases, the defendant spoke about the legitimacy of Lamberth’s judgment. While both claimed they had come to see the error of the ways in pretrial detention, they nevertheless acknowledged that if Lamberth saw fit to send them to prison, they accepted his judgment. “I could not have asked god for a better judge, to judge my character, this is a wise man, who’s going to be impartial, going to be fair,” Chansley said of the judge who had repeatedly deemed him unsafe to release. “I just hope you show some mercy on me, Sir,” Fairlamb said.

In both cases, Lamberth — a Reagan appointee whose past notably independent decisions include presiding over much of the litigation over a Native American Trust lawsuit, Cobell, as well as some of the first rulings to rein in the Executive’s FISA demands — seemed moved by the men’s remorse. In both, he considered but rejected a below guidelines sentence (for both men, the guidelines range was 41 to 51 months). In both cases, he sentenced them men to the guidelines sentence, albeit the lowest one, because of the severity of their actions. “It’s such a serious offense under those circumstances,” Lamberth said of Fairlamb’s actions that day, “an affront to society and the law to have the Capitol overrun and this riot stop the whole functioning of government. I cannot give a below guidelines sentence.” With Chansley, Lamberth similarly judged, “The basic problem I have with a departure downward, what you did here was horrific, as you now concede, and obstructing the functioning of government as you did is a type of conduct that is so, uh, serious that I cannot justify downward departure.”

You may not like either of these sentences. But one thing that both did — whether motivated out of genuine remorse or as part of a cynical ploy to butter up a judge — is reaffirm the legitimacy of the judicial process. By imposing real sentences on two men he seemed to believe exhibited real remorse for their actions, Lamberth emphasized how serious the January 6 attack was. Both these men recognized their actions as crimes. Both recognized the legitimacy of a judge imposing sentence for it. And both defendants recognized the professionalism of those at DOJ working to prosecute the case.

Amid all the efforts to decry any effort to hold January 6 rioters accountable, those are no mean achievements.

80 replies
  1. Badger Robert says:

    Its not news until Ms. Wheeler summarizes it. It appears Judge Lamberth is setting a standard. Even those who plead guilty will get guideline sentences. Those who don’t plead guilty may have aggravating factors if they are found guilty.
    Thanks again.

    • RWood says:

      While I agree that this is indeed a win I don’t feel it’s the victory that’s really needed.

      Remember, this guy was just one of the most vocal and violent rubes out of a cult that number in the millions. I don’t think for one second that jailing him, or the other 650 that were there with him, will impact that cult mindset in any meaningful way. The cult will elevate him to martyr status and the Bandit/Grifters that programmed him will leverage that into more power. Trump/Bannon would happily sacrifice another 650 of them if it gained them even one vote.

      What’s needed is a coordinated counter-campaign to the right-wing propaganda machine, and I have yet to see the Democrats mount one or even acknowledge that one is needed.

      Court victories are fine, but they DO NOT directly translate into swayed opinions or changed minds. These sentences might discourage another J6 from happening, but I don’t think it’ll do much to change anyone’s vote.

      There are two battles happening right now, one is being fought in the courtrooms, the other in the media machines, and it’s the latter that is far more important.

      • bmaz says:

        Criminal court is not the proper place for social engineering. And sentencing is as to each defendant, on his or her facts and circumstances, so if sentencings do not salve the souls outraged, that’s okay because it is not the purpose of sentencing.

        • boba says:

          “reaffirm the legitimacy of the judicial process.” Wholeheartedly agree with both these sentiments.
          And you know what Joe can do? Joe can break out the pardon pen and show what true mercy is. Not saying Jacob here deserves it, but my take on all of this is let the whole gamut run through the courts, and when it’s all said and done, look at the results and act accordingly. Some need time to reflect while enjoying the comforts of a fed prison while for some a commutation is in order. It’s possible very very few deserve a full pardon. I expect the president to do the social engineering in these cases.

        • bmaz says:

          He does not deserve a pardon, and he will, appropriately, never get one. Biden will not pardon any of these assholes.

        • joel fisher says:

          There are social policy ends met by the criminal justice system. These messages are delivered: bad things happen to me when I break the law; and, bad things happen to members of the public who break the law.

        • joel fisher says:

          There are social policy ends met by the criminal justice system. These messages are delivered: bad things happen to me when I break the law; and, bad things happen to members of the public who break the law.

        • Bill Crowder says:

          I think the comment’s most important point is that the Democrats need, now, to get a media campaign moving.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        That’s why Chansley received 41 months, when Fairlamb, who also received 41 months, also punched a cop.

  2. gmoke says:

    Who knew the Q-Anon Shaman, Jacob Chansley, would end up having more sense and dignity than 99.9% of the rest of the Republicanist Party?

    • Charles Wolf says:

      9 months in jail can do that to a person, but I find their mea culpas were manufactured by their lawyers.
      Worse yet. the stinking organic “shaman” will be out before the next Presidential election and signing lucrative deals with RWNJ publishers.

      • bmaz says:

        Meh, he will still be on strict supervised release. Again, criminal sentencing is about their individualized cases, not about public fee fees and outrage. People really need to chill out and get a grip.

  3. bmaz says:

    Also, whadda ya know, the early bottom feeder cases everybody was bitching about (some dude here wanted four years prison or something on a charge that had a statutory max of six months), and now that we are on to some of the bigger cases, the sentencings are getting more significant. All as has been predicted here from the start. Keep em moving.

      • bmaz says:

        Yep. People want the ground shifted upward, and it is starting to. Still going to be a process, but it always was.

        • RWood says:

          The suggested sentencing range was 41 to 51 months, the government asked for the maximum of 51 months.

          He got 41.

          That may be in line with the range but it does nothing to help the outrage the public has. Again, I would argue that perception is equal to or even more important than the justice machine running as it should.

          Yes, the sentencings are getting more significant, but 51 is more significant than 41.

        • bmaz says:

          I honestly do not give a flying fuck about “public outrage”, it is irrelevant. 41 months was more than a fair sentence. Frankly, with a non-violent crime, and the really good job Chansley did for himself in court, which clearly affected Lamberth, I am surprised he did not deviate down slightly from guidelines, which would have been fine too.

          I am not kidding, people need to quit seeing individual sentencings as salve for their personal souls and feelings.

        • Rayne says:

          Putting aside outrage, Chansley wasn’t charged with misdemeanor trespassing but a felony under 18 USC 1512(c)(2) Obstruction of an Official Proceeding:

          (c)   Whoever corruptly—
             (1) alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding; or
             (2) otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

          41 months, or 17% of the maximum, combined with a $500 fine for restitution, is light compared to 20 years for obstruction of Congress’s operations especially during one of its most important functions as well as the more than $1.5 million in damage done to the Capitol Building.

        • Robert N Eckert says:

          They weren’t obstructing just any old Congressional proceedings: this wasn’t a protest at a hearing about water-quality regulations. They were obstructing the proceedings that allow the democratic republic to continue to exist. If the maximum sentence does not apply here, what is the maximum for?

        • Robert N Eckert says:

          This is what you call “working”? Your story is about how chummy the judges and prosecutors are with the enemies of our democratic republic, and your answer to any question about why committing to the maximum possible extent an offense that carries a 20-year-term should not be treated as the law states is “Because shut up, that’s why.” You think this “affirms the legitimacy” of the system and are puzzled that others just see the system dying.

        • bmaz says:

          I think you are completely full of ignorant shit. and, yes, when a fair jury reaches a fair verdict, I do think the system is working.

        • co says:

          I feel you are the one who gets it here. And that these people are being WAY undersentenced. And that our DOJ hasn’t even the sense to protect democracy from a very real threat, by commanding sentences commensurate with the crime. What don’t give a fuck about, is ANYONE’S jail cell conversion to reticence or apologies. You did the crime, time to pay. Thank you

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah? Except I am the one here who has been practicing criminal law for over three decades, and these cases are moving, and being sentenced, just fine. This is how large conspiracies are always prosecuted, from the ground up and some early birds get worms and you move up the ladder. And, by the way, you don’t get sentenced without accepting guilt and, in almost every case ever, expressing remorse. You are wrong in every regard.

          Oh, wait, “you” were the one who wanted a defendant charged and pleading to a crime with a statutory maximum sentence of six months to be sentenced to four years in prison. And now you are back spewing the stupid yet again. Your uninformed outrage is not helpful.

          Also, too, since you have been here, you have used at least four different screen names, if not five. That is not permitted, pick one and stick to it.

        • RWood says:

          Public outrage is irrelevant? You think I’m talking about my own “personal feelings”? Public outrage is everything, it’s what drives people to march and protest and yes, even vote.

          Here are my personal feelings: I could give a flying fuck about his sentence or the sentences of the other 650+ yet to come. None of them will sway the vote come November. They are pawns, stupid ones, and while it may be fun to watch team justice win over and over in regard to them, it means nothing unless these pawns supply information that brings down the leadership.

        • bmaz says:

          Well, this post and thread is about an individual criminal sentencing, not some amorphous marching and voting or whatever. This is about what occurred in a single federal courtroom as to a single defendant.

          It is Federal District court on one case, not your local coffee klatch and rah rah get out the vote meeting. So, yeah, all that is completely irrelevant.

        • RWood says:

          I’ll make room for “Deterrence” on my “shelf of things that no longer exist”. It can sit right next to “Inherent Contempt”, “Congressional Subpeona”, “14-3” and “The Emoluments Clause”.

        • bmaz says:

          That is absolute and complete bullshit. Was he sentenced within the guidelines? Yes? Then put a sock in it. Federal sentencing guidelines don’t care about your internet outrage. And, frankly, that is just nuts.

        • Rugger9 says:

          When we first started in on the pleas and sentencing, someone rolled out a chart on the federal guidelines and where they come from, IIRC Popehat had a refresher tweet a couple of days ago.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          The legal system works hard to preclude public outrage from influencing sentencing. Or would you prefer that Mme. Defarge determine sentencing, while knitting in the corner of her wine shop near the Place de Guillotine?

        • TooLoose LeTruck says:


          The guillotine?

          Might be a bit over the top, but it would certainly make for some eye-popping visuals…

        • skua says:

          And further corrode the moral legitimacy of the nation.

          It is already so corroded that only a third of eligible voters turned out against Trump. That seems an already dangerous weakening.
          Humorless? Yeah, sort of, some things are both funny and poisonous.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          That was a location, and a reference to a vindictive character in a Dickens novel, not a suggestion for its use.

        • FL Resister says:

          The outrage and frothy commentary represent a lack of imagination and play into the current fiasco while more deliberative minds prevail.
          There is still intelligent life in America. This will hopefully save us.
          But so many of us feel we are hanging by a thread.

        • matt fischer says:

          May all the ratfuckers, coup plotters and inciters face a judge. That would help restore my faith in the strength of our republic.

        • Leoghann says:

          I could only support a guillotine if it were placed in the exact same location as the gibbet on January 6th.

    • TooLoose LeTruck says:

      I’ve been following your commentary about this for months now, and I’ll be damned… you were right!

    • Robert Eckert says:

      “some dude here wanted four years prison or something on a charge that had a statutory max of six months” The undercharging has been the issue. It has felt like Dahmer being charged with health-code violations for the way he prepared human flesh. All of these defendants attempted to overthrow the democratic republic as our form of government, demanding that an election’s outcome be determined not by any constitutional authorities (whether local or state executives or judiciary or Congress) but by a mob, and none have been charged as such.

        • Rayne says:

          Not a coup but a civil war. Unlike the last civil war there isn’t one continuous boundary; it’s more like Rwanda with the messy invisible separations between Hutu and Tutsi, incited to internecine internal warfare by a media outlet.

        • bmaz says:

          That is NOT the purpose of individual criminal cases. Don’t give me that crap, it just proves your ignorance. The criminal justice system is not your little social engineering playground.

        • Robert N Eckert says:

          If criminal cases do not serve the purpose of deterring future offenses, what exactly are they for? We have seen prosecutors obtain much harsher sentences for, say, marijuana sales or petty thefts. Why is it so outrageous to expect prosecutors to treat an attempt to overthrow our system of government as a serious offense?
          Yes, I am quite aware that you are more attuned to the thinking of prosecutors and courts than I am: that is why this site fills me with more despair for the chances of our survival than the trolliest QAnon site. Do the prosecutors calculate that jurors are more likely to sympathize with the seditionists than the black-or-at-least-wrong-side-of-the-tracks defendants they can get sent away for decades? Are they sedition sympathizers themselves? Or do they expect the judges to be, as in Kenosha?
          In any case it feels as if the fight is already lost, and that our only comfort is that “Rome wasn’t sacked in a day”: how many of the 2022 results will be by mob intimidation of the vote counters? Enough to tip the House or control of major states? Is it still possible to imagine the 2024 election ending nonviolently? Are we looking at something like the 11-year span from beer hall putsch to Reichstag fire, or can we hope for the 32-year span from Goths crossing the river to Alaric taking the capital?

  4. Silly but True says:

    I’m generally ambivalent on the time, but something rubs me a bit wrongly about Fairlamb — “the MMA fighter who beat Capitol Police” — and Chansley (who did not), both getting the same sentence.

    What I find curious, more about my own view than anything, about Lamberth’s sentence though is I have no idea whether Fairlamb should get higher, or Chansley should get lower. So I guess 41 might be about right in any case.

      • Silly but True says:

        I understand that; it more speaks to a deficiency in the guidelines themselves that both are sentenced to the same spot.

        We spend a lot of effort to make federal sentencing more perfect, but I guess I don’t think this is quite a perfect result.

        • bmaz says:

          No, it does not mean that in the least. Each case is considered individually, and there are simply a LOT of factors in each case that are different from the other. People here are out of their minds on this shit. Stop.

        • P J Evans says:

          I just read a comment elseweb from someone who thought Chansley should have gotten 10 years. Outrage makes for for worse results than actual justice.

        • bmaz says:

          Yes. By my eye, these sentences are just fine. Frankly, Lamberth seemed genuinely moved by Chansley’s statement, I was surprised he di not downward depart from guidelines, at least a little, like to 38 or so.

        • Silly but True says:

          Lol. Even when we’re in 100% agreement on this one you hyperventilate when I suggest Chansley should maybe have gotten less than 41 of the guy who beats cops. /facepalm. Whatever.

        • bmaz says:

          You “facepalm” all you want. There is simply a LOT more that goes into a sentencing than whatever you think you know relatively between the two cases. I think I will trust Royce Lamberth over you.

        • Gee says:

          I think the real test is whether any of the professed remorse by the various criminals is true remorse, and the only way you can sort of see that is by reviewing all of the actions of the people after they completed any sentence, or got off probation, paid their fine, etc etc.

          I can recall a couple of people (but not their names) that have quickly gone back to spouting the same rhetoric and jumped right back in the Q pool. (We also saw similar behavior in various people that after the event still werent capable of realizing they were criminals or participating in the cover for a very serious criminal act.)

          I’m not saying it’s impossible for any of these people to have actual feelings of remorse, but remember what type of mentality we are dealing with up front, extremely malleable, and clearly the type that seems to be fairly selfish as well, getting what they want without having to play by the rules. I would bet the vast majority go right back to business as usual.

          But my opinion doesnt matter – what matters is that we track the behavior once they have paid their fine, done their time. Even if the individual cases of justice being served dont seem enough or collectively amount to anything (e.g. we dont go up the chain and ever find out what truly happened and who was behind it) – we should at least have a much clearer view into the workings of the various domestic terror groups and their semi-affiliated allies, which is something.

          Whether we have a justice department and FBI that will ever do anything about that is a different issue, but that was already addressed by earlofhuntington and others, below, and is mostly an issue of whether Trump returns and we go full on autocracy.

  5. What Constitution? says:

    The Feds should start asking for a “compromise” of 45 months in similar circumstances. Coming for you, Mr. 45th President of the United States. There’s just something poetically justicey about resolving a “hi-low” of 51-41 with a number that reminds the offender of who it was whose lies brought him/her to this moment.

  6. WilliamOckham says:

    The professionalism of the lawyers and judge in this case is worth mentioning. That’s one of the last remaining bulwarks against the rising tide of authoritarianism in this country. The legal system in this country is far from perfect. It’s shot through with systemic racism and classism. The odds are stacked in favor of the government at every level. And yet, it can get much, much worse.

    Federal sentencing guidelines were designed to prevent mercy. Every time you call for sentences in excess of federal sentencing guidelines, you make it just a little bit easier for the “lock her up” crowd to move this country towards a truly brutalizing regime of state terror. Vindictiveness serves their aims, not ours.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Yes, it could get much worse. Imagine four more years of the former guy in the White House: adding to the Supremes, the appellate and district courts, in sole control of nominating US Attorneys, in control of federal prisons and armed law enforcement agencies, department and military heads. Back again as absentee landlord over governance and foreign affairs. Aged, sick, mentally ill, and vindictive as hell. He and those who sponsor and follow him would change America permanently.

      • Rugger9 says:

        We’ve already seen some of the damage in the rulings by Trumpkin judges that had people going WTH, at all federal levels. It will only get worse if the GQP gets back into the WH.

  7. Badger Robert says:

    These two convicts were treated as criminals, which is what they are. The inserrectionist movement was not advocating one side of some embedded issue in the US, like the continuation and expansion of slavery. All that happened was done to gratify the ego of a failed president, and perhaps extend his immunity from prosecution.
    The movement never had control of 11 state governments. They didn’t field powerful and dangerous armies that had to be encountered and defeated under the rules of war.
    A few thousand people showed for a demonstration and few hundred invaded the capital to obstruct a governmental ceremony.
    It was a sneak attack on democracy conducted by a tiny fraction of the population of the US. It was a criminal act inspired by the delusions of one man. They were all criminals and the object is to indict and convict as many of them as possible, including the people who put the plan together, and not just the stooges.
    Treating them as criminals, and cowards, is required. More may be required, but this much is necessary.
    And anyone who minimizes the threat of political violence in the US was obviously not alive in 1968 or doesn’t know who Gabby Giffords is.

    • timbo says:

      What irks me is how close these two sentences seem to to the same amount of time it takes to getting many college certifications, etc. Hopefully this forced ‘course of study’ is in the proper civics for these two… but who knows how many more of these scofflaws will just get out and be out for blood again given half a chance?

      There seems to be a lot of back and forth about whether these sentences are a deterrence or not tough enough, etc, etc. The fact is that no sentence will be long enough for the unrepentant. The deterring effect is for those who aren’t completely cracked, those not completely lost down the rabbit-hole of right-wing nuttery to such an extent that they’d actually want to get involved in anything further that undermines our Constitutional form of government, and hopefully avoid another incident as bad as or worse than what happened this past January 6. As long as the government can show that it isn’t brooking any more of this sort of riotous yahoo-ism, that there are consequences for such, then our system of government is thereby stabilized.

      • Savage Librarian says:

        Yep, for most of the J6 offenders, that old adage, “once burned, twice shy” probably still applies. But for a certain percentage of them we might have to count on that flipped aphorism. You know. Time wounds all heels.

      • JohnJ says:

        I remember what my mother told me as a kid about prison. I complained that there was no effort to rehabilitate people, she said sometimes it is just to keep the people that can’t follow the rules away from the rest of us.

        The best one was what I heard a judge open with before hearing a lot of driving on a suspended licence cases. He said we (the court) decided you should not drive for a while for punishment. If taking your licence doesn’t stop you from driving, we have another way. And then sentenced a whole bunch to jail for the remainder of their suspension.

        Don’t drive on a suspended in FLA.

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    On a slightly different note, Mr. Biden might beef up his PR team as he gears up to sell his priorities in 2022 and beyond. Engaging in a test drive-cum-press release for GM and its modified Hummer, and granting oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico twice the size of Florida is not a good look for a guy who just returned from making pledges at COP26. The planet is alternately burning and drowning around us. (Vancouver, BC, is temporarily an island owing to massive rain and flooding.)

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        It may have been electrified, but it’s still a Hummer, with all the anti-environmental baggage the name carries. It must consume the electricity of two or more cars to perform as it does; the batteries and could have been put to much better use. And it’s a car, with all the required environmentally costly infrastructure costs that entails.

        Ditto with the vast oil leases in the Gulf. Rayne points out that those were imagineered by Trump in a manner that made them hard to undo. It would have been worth Biden’s staff’s time to point that out, because, like Durham, it’s not the only land mine Trump left behind. And because no amount of conversation and horse trading will put the petroleum business on the same side as environmentalists. It’s like expecting tobacco companies to advocate for pervasive health and anti-cancer programs.

        Managing the imagery is what the Dems need to improve. That’s a necessary part of advocating for better programs, and to have the electoral victories and power to put them in place.

        • P J Evans says:

          In my area there are a lot fewer Hummers on the road than there were five years ago. I think it’s the price of gas plus them not fitting parking spaces.

    • Rayne says:

      Definitely needs more and better PR work, get an offense going rather than a defense. The oil lease auction was structured and set up by Trump and there’ve already been legal maneuverings which the Biden administration hasn’t been able to get around. Gasoline prices as they are right now screw with the public’s perception of what should be done with those leases.

      • P J Evans says:

        People don’t realize that prices – especially for gas and oil – aren’t controlled by government, but by producers and speculators.

        • Rayne says:

          Agreed, and I suspect this is contributing to Biden’s not-so-happy approval rating — the public is unconsciously measuring him every time they whip out their wallet at the pump.

  9. Jenny says:

    Jacob Chansley left a note in the Senate chamber for Pence stating: “It’s only a matter of time, justice is coming.”

    That was a note to self. He is going to jail. Words have power to help, heal or hurt. His words were like a boomerang coming back to hit him between the eyes.

    “Your beliefs become your thoughts,
    Your thoughts become your words,
    Your words become your actions,
    Your actions become your habits,
    Your habits become your values,
    Your values become your destiny.”
    ― Gandhi

  10. The Old Redneck says:

    I can’t fathom the bitching about this. A sentence at the bottom of the guidelines is appeal proof, and it shows both consideration of consistency (which is why we have guidelines) and individual circumstances. I suspect Lamberth concluded these are serious crimes, but at the same time, that these are pathetic guys who got carried away with something because of their lack of sophistication.
    Haters are always going to hate, as the saying goes. But the truth is that this is how it’s supposed to work.

  11. Leoghann says:

    It’s been pointed out here that Fairlamb and Chansley received the same sentences, even though Fairlamb punched a cop (potentially exacerbated by his MMA training) and Chansley was not violent. I’ve read a couple of reports that said Fairlamb appears, even when not in court, to be genuinely remorseful, at least to a point. He seems to realize he was manipulated. Chansley, on the other hand, is a bullshit artist supreme. If it weren’t for his low intellect, he could be truly dangerous. Maybe he really impressed Judge Lamberth by carrying on for 45 minutes about what a good and honorable man he, the judge, the attorneys, and even his jailhouse dietician are. Were I the judge, I’d have had to restrain myself from asking, “why the fuck should I care what you think of me?”

    It’s been reported that Chansley’s parents were appalled that he might plead guilty. They still believe in the whole Q ball of wax (pun recognized), that 45 was robbed of election victory, etc., etc. Jacob has been away from them for nine months, and will be for most of 32 months more. That may be the positive outcome of a bad situation for him. Being such a suck-up will benefit him in lockup; there are authorities and other inmates who will be nice to him as a result of having their egos massaged on the regular. But Chansley has been a side show act at Q events for a good while. He’s a professional actor, and his shaman shtick got him lots of recognition as he toured around. Then it made him the visible face of a whole bunch of bad actors, and now he’s reaping the cost of his success at being seen. If he carries his sideshow act into an FCI with him, he might find himself wearing some pretty painful bruises, as some of the powers that be teach him how to STFU.

    As far as deterrence is concerned, these sentences may give some of the regretters, those who wish they could have been there, pause before they head out to the next one. Country club prisons only exist in the mind of Rush Limbaugh, his dittoheads, and the people they have influenced. Whether you’re in county jail or Supermax, there’s one part of your experience that is shared in common with all other inmates–you can’t get out. You can’t run by and see Sis just because you’ve been thinking about her. The company is tiresome, if you get to see anyone else. But using the 400-year sentences given out by hateful politicians in judges’ robes as a benchmark is downright inhuman. Forty-one months in prison is enough time to be “penitent,” and to rehab one’s thoughts. Twenty years in an overcrowded hothouse does nothing but teach better ways to crime.

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