“It has become clear to me in the riots that many of the defendants who plead guilty do not actually take responsibility,” Judge Thomas Hogan said.
“They seem to me to be trying to get this out of the way as quickly and as cheaply as possible – stating what they have to say in the guilty plea, getting probation and hoping it would be over,” he said. added.
Hogan said defendants who claimed they were unaware of the seriousness of the riots were “trying to escape responsibility” and that “other participants in this riot who are guilty of an offense … can expect to receive prison time. “
His comments came during the sentencing of Robert Reeder of Maryland, who in June pleaded guilty to illegally demonstrating inside the Capitol. Hogan sentenced Reeder to three months in prison and ordered Reeder to pay $ 500 for damages to the Capitol complex.
Although defendants who have pleaded guilty are not required to apologize, it may persuade a judge to show leniency in sentencing. Prosecutors have already cited defiant comments from some rioters claiming they deserve time behind bars, and this sentence could set a benchmark for judges when dealing with other low-level cases with defendants who have denied the seriousness of the uprising.
Although the prosecution, signed with Reeder, gave the Justice Department the chance to charge Reeder for the assault, they refused to do so. Instead, prosecutors increased their recommended sentence to six months in prison and put what they called a “rewriting of reality” in Reeder’s claim to the FBI that he was non-violent by riots, not a Trump supporter, and believed he had permission to enter the Capitol.
In an emotional testimony, Reeder described, at times crying, that he lost his family, his job, and his denomination after January 6th.
“I’m embarrassed. I’m ashamed,” Reeder said. “The evil I have caused other people, not just myself … has left a permanent stain on me, society, the country, and I will not ever be remembered for being a part of that amount. I accept full responsibility for to be there. I want you to know that it was not only a mistake, but the biggest mistake of my life. I wish I had a chance to take it back and redeem myself. “
Reeder said his son “will not go to school anymore because he has been humiliated, embarrassed, bullied” and that his family is ashamed because they have the same name.
“I’m a good man. It’s me,” Reeder said.
So far, more than 95 rioters in the Capitol riots have pleaded guilty to federal charges. Thirteen have been convicted. Reeder is the seventh Capitol riot to have been jailed.