Violent Jan 6er Gets 14 Years, Longest To Date

The punishments are increasing as the worst of the worst are sentenced.

ABC News (“DOJ secures longest sentence yet for convicted Jan. 6 defendant“):

The Department of Justice secured its most severe sentence for a convicted Jan. 6 defendant yet — a marked victory for the government as it pursues those accused of attempting an insurrection.

Peter Schwartz, whom prosecutors termed “one of the most violent and aggressive participants” in the Jan. 6 riot, was sentenced to 14 years behind bars and 36 months of probation in a decision announced by Judge Amit Mehta on Friday. Earlier, federal prosecutors argued he should be sentenced to 24.5 years (or 294 months) in prison, three years of supervised release, $2,000 restitution and a fine of $71,541.

“This sentence is at the midpoint of Schwartz’s Sentencing Guidelines range and takes account of his repeated violence against police on January 6th, his substantial violent criminal history, his utter lack of remorse, and his efforts to profit from his crime,” the government’s sentencing memorandum said.

The longest sentence stemming from the attack thus far was 10 years given to former New York police officer Thomas Webster, who was found guilty of attacking officers during the riot.

Schwartz, prosecutors said, was the first person to throw a chair at officers, creating an opening within the police line at the Capitol. His actions — which included stealing chemical munitions such as pepper spray — led to hundreds of rioters overwhelming officers at a key police line forcing them to retreat, prosecutors alleged.

Schwartz’s attorneys requested leniency, seeking a sentence of four and a half years behind bars.

“Although his conduct is indeed serious, it is significant to note that Mr. Schwartz’s actions were not motivated by any desire for personal financial gain or any other type of benefit,” Schwartz’s attorneys wrote. “Rather, his actions were motivated by a misunderstanding as to the facts surrounding the 2020 election.”

On Jan. 6, 2021, Schwartz was on probation for at least one other case that involved both assaultive conduct and illegal firearms possession. He has maintained his innocence in several interviews.

His threats against officers date back to 1991, and he has been convicted on 38 charges. The cases range from a 2019 conviction for terroristic threats “for threatening police officers who placed him under arrest for domestic assault” to a 2020 conviction for domestic violence after he bit his wife on the forehead and punched her multiple times, according to court documents. He previously had four separate convictions of assault or threatening police officers.

In yesterday’s post on the conviction of Proud Boys leaders for seditious conspiracy related to the riots, I expressed my pleasure that the justice system is appropriately differentiating between the actors: “Those who were violent and/or participating in a conspiracy to overthrow the results of a democratic election are being punished severely while those who were simply in it for the luls are getting relatively light punishments.” This is another milestone toward that end.

FILED UNDER: 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. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    As I said in this AM’s open forum, “Just a peach of a guy, a true patriot.”

    eta: You don’t touch on this little tidbit so I thought I would add it in:

    Schwartz has raised more than $71,000 from an online campaign titled Patriot Pete Political Prisoner in DC. Prosecutors asked Mehta to order Schwartz to pay a fine equaling the amount raised by his campaign, arguing that he shouldn’t profit from participating in the riot.

  2. Stormy Dragon says:

    One thing that the original article doesn’t note is that the oddly specific $71,541 fine is equal to the amount Schwartz raised from a “Patriot Pete is a Political Prisoner” fund raising effort and was intended to prevent him from financially profiting from his crime.

  3. Liberal Capitalist says:

    I think the article below makes some very important points:

    Quit calling it “Jan 6th” call it what it is: “Trump’s Coup Attempt”.

    To normalize this by calling it anything else, or to treat him as any other candidate is a disservice to 240+ years of American History.