… what kind of sentences would be handed down to the rioters who were rounded up by the police. The first person was sentenced late last week, and if the first punishment is any indication, they’re all going to get jail time.
Judge Lynn Leibovitz is presiding over all the Inauguration Day rioting cases in District of Columbia Superior Court. On Friday, she sentenced Dane Powell, the first defendant to plead guilty to felony charges, to four months in prison. The sentence was more than Powell asked for — his lawyers argued for no jail time — but less than the six months sought by prosecutors.
Leibovitz made clear that in announcing Powell’s sentence on Friday, she was only addressing his conduct. Still, her questions and remarks shed light on how she’ll weigh evidence and craft sentences going forward. The judge made clear that acceptance of responsibility will be no guarantee against jail time, and she signaled how she was starting to distinguish between different types of defendants — those involved in planning the demonstration that ended in mass arrests, versus those who were not, for instance.
Leibovitz said she gave “great weight” to Powell’s decision to plead guilty early, and that his acceptance of responsibility “sharply” reduced the sentence she would have handed down otherwise. However, she said that a sentence of no jail time would be inappropriate; Powell admitted to breaking store windows downtown and throwing rocks and other objects at police officers.
After reducing the sentence due to the defendant’s honesty regarding her crimes, the judge still gave her 4 months of jail time. Although I would argue that throwing rocks at police officers earns you more than four months, especially when the riot was nothing more than a tantrum in response to a felon losing an election. Now we wait to see the sentences for the rioters who helped plan and incite the riot.