Sunday, April 7, 2024

“Plainly Erred”: Judge Reggie Walton Rebuked by D.C. Circuit in J6 Case – JONATHAN TURLEY

The order reflects the utter impunity shown by the Justice Department in its pursuit of January 6th defendants.  Justice Department official Michael Sherwin  proudly declared in a television interview that “our office wanted to ensure that there was shock and awe … it worked because we saw through media posts that people were afraid to come back to D.C. because they’re, like, ‘If we go there, we’re gonna get charged.’ … We wanted to take out those individuals that essentially were thumbing their noses at the public for what they did.”

Sherwin was celebrated for his pledge to use such draconian means to send a message to others in the country. (Sherwin has left the Justice Department and is now a partner at Kobre & Kim).

The surveillance of the computer shows that the Justice Department continues to act with a sense of utter impunity, particularly when judges are willing to blithely sign off on such orders.

The case involved Daniel Goodwyn, 35, of Corinth, Texas, who pleaded guilty on Jan. 31, 2023, to one misdemeanor count of entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds without lawful authority. That is a relatively minor offense but Walton imposed a 60-day jail sentence in June 2023.

Walton reportedly noted that Goodwyn spread “disinformation” during a broadcast of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on March 14, 2023 and ordered that Mr. Goodwyn’s computer be subject to “monitoring and inspection” by a probation agent to check if he spread Jan. 6 disinformation during the term of his supervised release.

As a condition for supervised release, the Justice Department was reportedly seeking evidence on the defendant’s political opinions and Walton felt that that was fine. The appellate judges (Gregory Katsas, Neomi Rao, and Bradley Garcia) did not: “The district court plainly erred in imposing the computer-monitoring condition without considering whether it was ‘reasonably related’ to the relevant sentencing factors and involved ‘no greater deprivation of liberty than is reasonably necessary’ to achieve the purposes behind the sentencing.”


Jonathan Turley.

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