Texas Militia Member Gets Most Serious Jan 6. Sentence Yet: Just Over 7 Years!
A member of the Texas militia was sentenced to seven and a quarter years in prison on Monday. This is the longest sentence given to anyone who took part in the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, so far.
Guy Reffitt, 49, was the first person charged with a crime on January 6 to go before a jury. He was found guilty in March on five felony charges, including interfering with police during civil disorder and threatening his children if they told the police about him.
However, U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich declined the Justice Department’s request to treat Reffitt’s crimes as terrorism, which would have substantially increased the recommended sentence under federal guidelines.
It was the first time that federal prosecutors tried to get a Jan. 6 defendant a harsher sentence by calling his actions “domestic terrorism.” However, the judge decided that it was not the right time to use the more severe sentencing guidelines that federal law allows in terrorism-related cases.
Friedrich, an appointee of President Donald Trump, said that applying the sentencing enhancement to Reffitt would create an “unwarranted sentencing disparity” with other cases involving similar threats or conduct related to the Capitol riot.
“There are a lot of cases where defendants had weapons or did very violent attacks,” Friedrich said. He also pointed out that the harshest sentences handed down so far in Jan. 6 cases were a little more than five years, while prosecutors asked for Reffitt to get 15 years. “The government is asking for a sentence that is three times as long as any other defendant’s, even though the defendant did not attack an officer.”
Friedrich finally decided that Reffitt’s case was more like the more serious ones from January 6 for which sentences had already been given than it was different.
“I do think there are in many respects analogous cases that have been sentenced … in this district related to the Jan. 6 events themselves,” she said.