Rejecting the recommendation of prosecutors, a federal judge sentenced a Jan. 6 rioter to probation on Friday.
The same judge also suggested that the Justice Department was being too hard on those who broke into the Capitol compared with the handling of those arrested during anti-racism protests following George Floyd’s murder.
U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden questioned why federal prosecutors had not brought more cases against those accused in 2020 summertime protests, reading out statistics on riot cases in the nation’s capital that were not prosecuted.
“I think the U.S. attorney would have more credibility if it was even-handed in its concern about riots and mobs in this city,” McFadden said during Danielle Doyle’s sentencing for entering the Capitol on Jan. 6 with a throng of other rioters. Prosecutors recommended two months of home confinement.
The statements by McFadden, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, were a major departure from the other federal judges overseeing Jan. 6 cases so far, despite other Trump appointees on the court assigned to the hundreds of cases. They have generally discussed seriousness of the crime and its unique place in American history – different from other violent free speech protests because it sought to disrupt the peaceful transition of power.
The Associated Press analyzed more than 300 criminal cases stemming from the protests incited by Floyd’s murder, showing that many leftist rioters had received substantial sentences. That finding has added to the debate over whether the participants in both happenings have been treated equitably.