Fox News reported this week that a Tampa, Florida man became the first person to be sentenced on felony charges stemming from the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Paul Allard Hodgkins, 38, received an eight-month federal prison sentence on Monday after pleading guilty last month to a single charge of obstructing an official proceeding.
Prosecutors reportedly sought an 18-month sentence, however, U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss took note of Hodgkins’ “sincere” statement and his lack of a prior criminal record.
Although Judge Moss acknowledged that Hodgkins did not engage in a leadership role in the Jan. 6 riot, he rejected the defendant’s claim of being a “minor” participant.
“Collective threat to democracy”
In his sentencing remarks, the judge stressed that Hodgkins “was one of a small number of people who made their way onto the Senate floor.”
Despite the defendant not being accused of damaging property or engaging in physical violence, prosecutors nevertheless insisted that he, “like each rioter, contributed to the collective threat to democracy.”
For his part, Hodgkins’ attorney argued that his client should be spared prison time given that he will suffer life-long repercussions and regret for his role in the events of Jan. 6.
“Whatever punishment this court may provide will pale in comparison to the scarlet letter Mr. Hodgkins will wear for the rest of his life,” the attorney wrote.
Tucker Carlson’s take
Fox News host Tucker Carlson has been among those questioning why many of the Capitol riot’s alleged participants have received harsh treatment, despite very few of them facing violent charges.
As Carlson noted during an April airing of his primetime show, “A number of people arrested on Jan. 6 are still rotting in the D.C. municipal lockup, one of the foulest detention centers in the country.”
“It’s a truly repulsive, mismanaged place. Ask anyone from Washington, D.C. what they would do not to be thrown in the D.C. jail. It’s that bad,” Carlson said. “Some say they’ve been beaten, not surprisingly, by guards there.”
“Lawyers for one, a man called Ryan Samsel, say he was beaten so badly, he has a skull fracture and is now blind in one eye,” Carlson said, asking, “How many Antifa rioters or BLM vandals can say that?”