Paul Allard Hodgkins, one of the protesters who stormed the Capitol on January 6, received his sentence today. Judge Randolph Moss, an Obama appointee, sentenced Hodgkins to eight months. This is the first felony sentence handed down in connection with the events of January 6.
The felony, to which Hodgkins entered a guilty plea, is obstructing a congressional proceeding. He carried a large “Trump 2020” flag onto the floor of the U.S. Senate near the presiding officer’s desk.
The prosecution sought a sentence of 18 months for Hodgkins. That sentence would have been far too harsh. Hodgkins didn’t engage is violent conduct and reportedly he had no previous criminal history.
Some will say that even an eight-month sentence is too harsh. Personally, I don’t have a problem with it, provided the sentence complies with applicable sentencing guidelines and is commensurate with what left-wing protesters receive when they commit felonies.
But I don’t believe the sentence is commensurate. Left-wing protesters who engage in violent conduct — which Hodgkins did not — seldom get any jail time. Often they aren’t even prosecuted.
Recently, I read that a defendant who assaulted a police officer during rioting near the White House last year will not be prosecuted because the facial recognition technology used in his case supposedly isn’t reliable enough when it comes to identifying African-Americans.
What’s the theory here — that all Black men look basically the same? Give me a break.
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.
Let’s also remember that the Capitol police officer who shot and killed a protester for no apparent reason hasn’t been charged with any crime. Nor has there been any attempt to explain this decision to the public.
It’s clear to me that there are two criminal law standards at work in this context — 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 me, that’s evidence that the U.S. is in the midst of a cold civil war.