A Pennsylvania man received a sentence of 60 days home arrest -- and not the 30 days jail time requested by the government -- after a judge pointed out disparities with the cases of other Capitol riot convicts.
Samuel Fox, 32, of Mt. Pleasant, PA, will serve three years on probation along with the home arrest. But Washington, D.C., District Court Chief Judge Beryl Howell rejected the prosecution’s recommendation of jail time, according to reporting at TribLive.com in western Pennsylvania.
Fox spent just two minutes inside the U.S. Capitol during the January 6 riot. But prosecutors had argued that “Fox engaged in pre-planning to go to the Capitol for the rally and wrote on Facebook about his wish for Trump to start a civil war.
“Fox spread false information about the riot, including, in April 2021, when he claimed, ‘January 6th was a walking tour. The doors were open and only agents provocateur were breaking windows at the protest of the crowd. Absolutely a lie that anything violent happened there other than a black officer murdering a white woman.’”
But here has the judge’s perspective, according to TribLine.com:
“This is a defendant who clearly deserves to be prosecuted and punished,” Howell said. “The question is… two minutes inside the Capitol … how much punishment does that merit?”
But, “the judge noted that in 58 Capitol riot cases in which the defendants pleaded only to parading, the government asked for less prison time,” the report said.
“Noting the federal mandate that requires judges to avoid unwarranted sentencing disparities, Howell asked the government, ‘So, you explain … how I’m supposed to reconcile that?’ Howell said that Fox had no weapons with him at the rally, no tactical gear, no bear spray and had no interaction with the police.
“I’m finding it difficult — what’s so aggravating about two minutes inside the Capitol that makes this case stand out?’”
Howell suggested that Fox’s pre-riot statements were not grounds for imprisonment.
“You don’t punish people for their beliefs unless those beliefs spill over into unlawful action,” she said, adding later, “All of that speech, as disturbing as it is, was not the unlawful conduct he was charged with.”
For his part, Fox attempted to distance himself from his conduct on January 6, according to the TribLive.com reporting.
“Fox, who is Hindu and a registered member of the Green party, said he supported Trump starting in 2015, because he appreciated his outspoken style and his unorthodox approach to politics and political power,” the report stated. And there was this:
“Now, more than a year later, Fox said, his actions that day “have been a deep source of pain and regret.”
You can read the FBI criminal complaint here.