‘Almost schizophrenic’: Judge rips DOJ approach to Jan. 6 prosecutions

Howell stated that she was considering all those involved in Jan. 6 Capitol breach, which the Justice Department now believes to have been between 2,000 and 2,500 enablers of an attack against the republic.
Howell stated that Jan. 6 was a terrible day for democracy's reputation. He said that Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers were chased by the mob and that staffers fled under their desks.

Howell stated that the Jan. 6 rioters who attacked the Capitol were not simply trespassers engaged in protected First Amendment conducts or protests. The mob attacked Capitol not because they were disorderly. There are numerous videos that show this. Everybody involved in the mob contributed to this violence.

Jack Griffith, a Tennessee resident, was sentenced to three years probation by Howell for breaking into the Capitol for approximately 10 minutes on Jan. 6, amid broader attacks. Griffith was sentenced to a minimum of six months in prison by the Prosecutors for the pleaded guilty charge of parading and demonstrating inside the Capitol.

The landmark decision of Howells was highly anticipated in the broad-ranging prosecution that included more than 700 Jan.6 defendants. She played a key role in urging prosecutors to take into account the larger threat to democracy the riot presented when considering the charges and punishments for participants. Her words are often more important than her colleagues', because she is the chief of District Court blocks located near the Capitol. She expressed concern and doubt about the prosecutors' ginger language and approach to some cases in her court's initial cases. She also attributed the public confusion over the seriousness and severity of the attack on Capitol to the government approach.

After all the scorching rhetoric, the government continues to call the rioters who broke through the lines of police and gained entry to the building as trespassers. Howell stated. This was not a simple act of trespass.

Although Griffith was given a light sentence, the judge stated that she thought it was fair. However, she said that the sentence was due to prosecutors' decisions to solve Griffith's case and other cases. Howell stated that there was a disconnect between what she described as the most basic charges the government settled in plea deals and the almost apocalyptic language used by prosecutors in court filings regarding the Jan. 6 attack.

It is not a secret that federal judges rarely address Class B petty offences, I think. Howell stated that this is not the norm in criminal conduct and added that such crimes are usually resolved with a $50 ticket.

Howell stated that there were signs that prosecutors were taking a changing and evolving position on their Jan. 6 sentencing recommendations. She noted, however, that federal law requires judges not to make unwarranted inequalities when sentencing defendants who have committed similar acts.

Howell noted also that the decision to allow defendants to plead guilty to petty offences essentially stripped judges from the ability to modify the $500 restitution the government agreed to in these cases.

The judge stated that my hands were tied to respect for restitution from where I am sitting.

Howell pointed out that even if each rioter paid $500, that would only amount to $300,000. She called that barely a drop in a bucket.

The judge asked if officials as high and as powerful as Attorney General Merrick Galrland had given their opinions on the sentences in Capitol riot cases.

I don't know the details of how plea deals were run up the chain. Assistant U.S. attorney Jamie Carter stated that he knows they were.

Howell also stressed that judges sometimes feel played by defendants who are given light sentences and express remorse. However, this was only after the cases have been resolved. Howell specifically mentioned Anna Morgan-Lloyd's case. She spoke to Fox News following her sentence and stated that she did not witness any violence at Capitol.

Heather Shaner, Morgan-Lloyds lawyer and Griffith's representative, told Howell that Morgan–Lloyds was played by Fox host Laura Ingraham.

There was no lack of regret. Shaner stated that her client was stupid to post on the forum. I felt humiliated, I felt betrayed.

Griffith addressed Howell to apologize for his actions. He also suggested that he didn't wish violence on Capitol workers despite his support of conspiracy theories about the election and encouragement of those who stormed the Capitol. Howell stated that his repentance could not be trusted because he had never denied his belief in the theft of the election and seemed driven by criminal conduct through misinformation.

She said, "You're not a lemming Mr. Griffith." You are able to think for yourself.