(Rallying Patriots) – A new report from BizPacReview says that the Justice Department is now seeking tougher penalties for members of the United States military who were part of crowds that entered the Capitol building during the riot that took place on January 6 of this year.
The Associated Press is reporting that the DOJ mulled over whether or not veterans should be extended some gracious leniency due to the fact they served their country or if they should be treated more severely due to the perception they violated the oaths they took to defend the country.
It seems they are choosing the latter of the two options, which speaks volumes about the current state of our government and the military tasked with preserving our liberty.
“During his 27 years in the U.S. Army, Leonard Gruppo joined the Special Forces, served in four war zones and led a team of combat medics in Iraq before retiring in 2013 as a lieutenant colonel,” The AP pointed out, providing one example.
“During his six minutes inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, Gruppo joined a slew of other military veterans as a mob of pro-Trump rioters carried out an unparalleled assault on the bastion of American democracy,” the newswire added. “He’s among dozens of veterans and active-service members charged in connection with the insurrection.”
A lot of Americans don’t see what happened on January 6 as an “insurrection,” but as a riot that is similar to the hundreds of others that took place in the country during the very volatile year of 2020.
“Prosecutors have repeatedly maintained that veterans’ service, while commendable, made their actions on Jan. 6 more egregious,” the AP reported.
Federal officials have come to see the participation of military veterans in the breach of the Capitol in a much different light due to the fact that it looks like some of them may have used the training they received in the armed forces during the incident.
However, prosecutors who have argued that a rioter’s military service should make them eligible for more severe penalties than others didn’t seem to sit too well with a federal judge who presided over Gruppo’s sentencing hearing held last Friday.
“I don’t view his military service that way. I just can’t bring myself to do that,” Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell, who was appointed to the bench by Obama and was born at Fort Benning, Ga., said, just ahead of sentencing Gruppo to two years’ probation and 90 days of house arrest.
“One federal prosecutor, Assistant U..S. Attorney Hava Mirell, said that Gruppo’s military experience supported the recommendation by the Justice Department that he be sentenced to 30 days behind bars. Mirell noted that the New Mexico-based Gruppo was trained to see the developing dangers at the Capitol Building and ‘to assist rather than to harm,'” the BPR report said.
“But the fact that he did receive that training and the fact that he intentionally overlooked his oath to commit one of the most destructive acts against our Constitution and our democracy, that does affect the government’s view of his conduct,” she went on to say.
Gruppo’s defense attorney, Daniel Lindsey, argued that the military service of his client shouldn’t be used against him, going on to say that Gruppo wanted to remain quiet at first about his time in the military because he felt that he had dishonored his time in uniform.
“And he did,” the judge said, interrupting Lindsey. “Let’s not mince words.”
“But, she added, she was nevertheless taken aback by the DOJ’s position on recommending a tougher sentence for Gruppo because he served in uniform because she believes most Americans would express “enormous respect” for it,” BPR stated.
“And it’s not just because I grew up on military bases around the world,” Howell stated.
Public law and government professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, James Marham, spoke with the AP saying that, ordinarily, a defendant’s military service is seen and used as a mitigating factor when it comes to sentencing. But he also said that he sees the DOJ’s side of the argument as well.
“It’s obviously not related to their military service directly, but it’s also not entirely conceptually unrelated that somebody who is a veteran or had military service could be viewed as having a more refined understanding of the importance of civilian control and electoral stability,” Markham, who serves as a lawyer and an Air Force veteran said during his interview with the AP.
As of this writing, 650 individuals have been charged with their involvement in the breach of the Capitol building.
Copyright 2021. RallyingPatriots.com