First Capitol Rioter Sentenced Gets No Jail Time

The second won't be so fortunate.

Trump supporters try to break through a police barrier, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, at the Capitol in Washington. As Congress prepares to affirm President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, thousands of people have gathered to show their support for President Donald Trump and his claims of election fraud. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

AP (“No jail time in 1st riot sentence; Oath Keeper pleads guilty“):

An Indiana woman on Wednesday became the first defendant to be sentenced in the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and avoided time behind bars, while a member of the Oath Keepers extremist group pleaded guilty in a conspiracy case and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in a major step forward for the massive investigation.

The two developments signal that the cases against those charged in the deadly siege are slowly advancing, even as the U.S. Department of Justice and the courthouse in Washington, D.C., struggle under the weight of roughly 500 federal arrests across the U.S. And it comes as Republicans in Washington attempt to downplay the violence committed by members of the mob supporting former President Donald Trump.

Graydon Young, who was accused alongside 15 other members and associates of the Oath Keepers of conspiring to block the congressional certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory, pleaded guilty to two counts: conspiracy and obstruction of an official proceeding. It was the first guilty plea in the major conspiracy case brought against members of the group.

The second charge calls for up to 20 years in prison, but U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta said federal sentencing guidelines call for Young to serve between 5 1/4 years and 6 1/2 years behind bars. Prosecutors may seek even less time in exchange for his cooperation against other defendants.

Young, 55, of Englewood, Florida, was arrested in February and charged in the sweeping conspiracy case accusing members of the Oath Keepers of coming to Washington prepared to use violence and intent on stopping the certification of the vote. Authorities said in court documents that Young joined the Florida chapter of the Oath Keepers in December, writing that he was “looking to get involved in helping …”

Later that month, Young reached out to a company that does firearms and combat training about a rifle class for four people, according to the indictment. Authorities say Young, wearing a helmet and tactical vest, was part of the military-style “stack” seen on camera marching through the crowd before entering the Capitol building.

[…]

Anna Morgan Lloyd, 49, of Indiana, was ordered by a federal judge to serve three years of probation, perform 120 hours of community service and pay $500 in restitution after admitting to unlawfully entering the Capitol. She pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor charge under a deal with prosecutors.

After the riot, Lloyd described Jan. 6 on Facebook as the “best day ever.”

On Wednesday, she apologized to the court, her family and “the American people,” saying she went to Washington that day to peacefully show her support for Trump.

“I’m ashamed that it became a savage display of violence that day. And I would have never been there if I had a clue it was going to turn out that way,” Lloyd told the judge. “It was never my intent to be a part of anything that’s so disgraceful to our American people.”

In seeking probation for Lloyd, prosecutors noted that she was not involved in any violence and destruction or preplanning and coordination of the Capitol breach. Lloyd was invited by her hairdresser to drive to Washington to hear Trump speak, her attorney wrote in court documents.

U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth said he was giving her a “break,” but didn’t want others to think that probation — and not a stiffer sentence — would be the norm.

“Legally, I could give you the six months, but is that really what we want our judiciary to do?” the judge asked.

NYT (“Indiana Woman Is First Person to Be Sentenced in Capitol Riot“) adds:

Ms. Morgan-Lloyd’s light penalty, three years of probation, was not only the first punishment handed down against any of the nearly 500 people charged in the attack, but is also likely to serve as a bellwether for scores of other rioters who committed no violence on Jan. 6 and were accused of only minor crimes.

Under the terms of her deal with the government, Ms. Morgan-Lloyd also agreed to pay restitution of $500, her small part in defraying the estimated $1.5 million in damage done to the Capitol during the attack.

This strikes me as the right outcome. Lloyd was a stooge that caught up in a mob action that got violent and destructive. She’s spent almost six months worrying about a much stiffer sentence, spent goodness knows how much in legal bills, and will pay an additional $500 fine. Lamberth is right: levying the maximum punishment on her would have been excessive.

The contrast with Young—not shown in most of the headlines—is instructive. He faces several years in prison for plotting an actual criminal conspiracy. But, as is commonplace in our system, can reduce that penalty in exchange for his cooperation in convicting his co-conspirators, presumably including people higher on the food chain and/or who did more violent crimes.

That poorer defendants without access to good legal advice or blacker and browner defendants facing systemic racism might have been treated more harshly is problematic. But we should move the system towards reasonableness, not even out the brutality.

FILED UNDER: Capitol Riot, Crime, Law and the Courts
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    According to Julie Kelly at American Greatness, the deprogramming of patriots has begun:

    http://www.amgreatness.com/2021/06/23/deprogramming-of-january-6-defendants-is-underway/

    3
  2. KM says:

    In seeking probation for Lloyd, prosecutors noted that she was not involved in any violence and destruction or preplanning and coordination of the Capitol breach.

    I’m curious what the judge would sentence any other individual guilty of breaking and enter into a private residence or business that didn’t involve violence or them being in on the planning stage. If she was some young punk who went along and busted into somebody’s house at 3am, scared the owners so bad they feared for their lives and was present when significant damage occurred and fatalities happened, would that same sentencing be appropriate?

    Using the max to punish people just because it’s there is wrong and vindictive. Justice must be tempered with mercy for circumstance and wisdom regarding consequences. However, this was a major injury to our nation and if a simple home invasion gone sour could get a stiffer sentence, than so should the invaders of our seat of power. We’re going to see a lot of downplaying what happened and with it the severity of what occurred till it becomes common knowledge that invading the actual floor of Congress and violating national security gets you a $500 fine and 3 years under watch. That’s…… that’s not a deterrent to the kind of folks of did this. I’m glad sentencing is finally happening but am concerned if they are all the slaps on the wrist it’s going to set a terrible precedent.

    8
  3. CSK says:

    @KM:
    I think the fear is that all the Brave, Peaceful Patriots who simply took a stroll through the building they were welcomed into will be harshly punished, while all the Antifa-BLM miscreants who caused the damage and threatened to hang Mike Pence and kill Nancy Pelosi will be allowed to go free.

    7
  4. James Joyner says:

    @KM:

    I’m curious what the judge would sentence any other individual guilty of breaking and enter into a private residence or business

    The Capitol Rotunda is a public space. If Young joined in once the guards had dispersed and the doors were wide open, she was simply guilty of a modest misdemeanor.

    However, this was a major injury to our nation and if a simple home invasion gone sour could get a stiffer sentence, than so should the invaders of our seat of power. We’re going to see a lot of downplaying what happened and with it the severity of what occurred till it becomes common knowledge that invading the actual floor of Congress and violating national security gets you a $500 fine and 3 years under watch. That’s…… that’s not a deterrent to the kind of folks of did this.

    As I’ve noted many times once the facts started coming in, unlike 9/11, 1/6 was several events happening at the same time rather than a single conspiracy. It’s appropriate to punish people differently. I suspect the Proud Boy who pled guilty will get hard time and some who committed violence and destruction will get even more.

    2
  5. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @KM: I got no problems with vindictive and who died and left you in charge of deciding what’s wrong? Fortunately, I also got no dog in this fight, so whatevs, but I still find it interesting to examine when and how we decide where “too far” is and how it usually seems to go benefit the same people over and over.

    1
  6. KM says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    If you don’t show up to the mixers, you don’t get all the gossip. I can’t help you missed my promotion 🙂

    As for being overly vindictive, it’s more the notion that if you want to use the max just because it’s the max, then it’s really your minimum and default. @James is right in that appropriate to punish people differently; if the max sentencing is 10 years and that gets doled out like candy, it becomes the default automatic punishment and should be marked as such. Don’t give a range if the intent is to live in overdrive, etc.

    I do think she should have gotten more simply due to the severe nature of incident but what’s really going to test all of this is when one of them inevitably violates probation, fails to pay or do their hours. What then?

    1
  7. CSK says:

    @KM:
    Well, I would assume that anyone who violates probation, fails to pay the fine, or do community service gets treated like others who violate probation, etc.–they get picked for so doing.

    1
  8. JKB says:

    Three years under government surveillance for peacefully protesting, well there was parading, during a Mostly Peaceful protest. At least more peaceful than the Mostly Peaceful protests outside the Portland federal courthouse. Interesting message being sent. Of course, the DOJ want deals because they can’t be appealed, nor do will they make spectacle in the news. But it certainly looks like any trials are set to be during the 2022 election season.

  9. CSK says:

    @JKB:
    Is it really a peaceful protest when you have a swarm of people invading a room and yelling “Hang Mike Pence”?

    4
  10. Michael Reynolds says:

    @JKB:
    Obviously she’s an FBI plant, right? Not one of you at all. Right?

    2
  11. Jay L Gischer says:

    @JKB: I think you’re making a false equivalence. Whatever happened in Portland (and I think it’s likely that you have a concept that there was much more violence than there was) is not the same as the Day of Broken Glass, where there was an attempt to alter the outcome of a lawfully conducted election for the Presidency.

    3
  12. Teve says:

    @Jay L Gischer: Anyway, dozens of arrests and prosecutions of Portland protesters have happened, and are happening, by local, state, and federal authorities.

    5
  13. Stormy Dragon says:

    This strikes me as the right outcome. Lloyd was a stooge that caught up in a mob action that got violent and destructive. She’s spent almost six months worrying about a much stiffer sentence, spent goodness knows how much in legal bills, and will pay an additional $500 fine. Lamberth is right: levying the maximum punishment on her would have been excessive.

    Meanwhile in Louisiana…

    New Orleans man jailed for 20 years after stealing two shirts released from prison

    5
  14. JKB says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Old Joe said just yesterday that The People couldn’t hope to even threaten the government without F-16s and nuclear weapons. But here’s grandma parading and a guy with a horned hat being offered as an existential threat when no one brought a firearm.

    1
  15. KM says:

    @JKB:
    The People? Hardly. We the People are insulted by being lumped in with these insurrectionists.

    He meant idiots who cosplay as 1776 patriots wannabes in their fake cameo gear and have annihilation fantasies about how they’ll take down the government like Rambo in a day. He correctly pointed out they’d not stand the chance they think they have. America as a nation or even as a governmental agency isn’t going down to The Good Guy with a Gun; all insurgencies and revolutions took more than that and many fail because the government’s simply got better toys. Sorry reality’s not playing along with your LARP.

    Doesn’t mean they’re not dangerous, though to regular and random people. Doesn’t mean a single terrorist can’t hurt or kill a bunch of soft targets. Doesn’t mean Grandma can decided to break into a secure building for giggles -sorry, “protest” – and not face legal consequences. The guy with horned hat was definitely trespassing and had access to national security info by being in a secure governmental chamber he *definitely* wasn’t given permission to enter – are you the party of Law and Order or not? They broke the law and several people were injured and killed. Are you claiming no single snowflake is responsible for the avalanche even if their combined weight was the threat?

    4
  16. Scott says:

    I love how this woman is always referred to as a grandma, as if she was old, gray haired, walking with a cane. She was 49 years old for cryin’ out loud with blonde (albeit colored) hair.

    1
  17. grumpy realist says:

    “Why shure your honnah, I jus’ accidentally wandered into the bank waving mah’ sweet little gun and all of a sudden people were handing me money!”

    Woman, admit how stupid you were.

    2
  18. DrDaveT says:

    @JKB:

    At least more peaceful than the Mostly Peaceful protests outside the Portland federal courthouse.

    By what measure? Fatalities? (No.) Property damage? (No.) Threat to our democracy? (No.) I’m genuinely curious to hear your rationale for this claim.

  19. mattbernius says:

    @DrDaveT:
    Mainly that a significant number of black people weren’t involved. JKB has made it clear over and over again that is his particular threshold for separating patriots from rioters.