Veterans Who Stormed the Capitol are Facing Stiffer Punishments

by Michael London | 11/03/2021 10:41 AM
Veterans Who Stormed the Capitol are Facing Stiffer Punishments

The involvement of veterans in the riot was alarming since some of them seemed to have exploited training they obtained while serving in the United States military against their own nation to disrupt the peaceful transition of power.

 

Do individuals like U.S. Army Lt. Col. Leonard Gruppo, who joined the Special Forces and fought in four war zones before retiring as a lieutenant colonel in 2013, commanded a team of combat medics in Iraq before retiring in 2013, deserve leniency from their act of insurrection?

When it comes to sentencing soldiers who stormed the Capitol, federal courts must weigh whether they deserve compassion because they served their nation or harsher punishment because they signed an oath to protect it.

The United States Department of Justice has taken the latter view.

At least five cases have been filed so far. Prosecutors have mentioned a rioter's military service as a consideration in determining whether or not to sentence them to prison or house detention.

Authorities have said on several occasions that the veterans' service, although respectable, made their conduct on January 6 all the more heinous.

The involvement of veterans in the riot was alarming since some of them seemed to have exploited training they obtained while serving in the United States military against their own nation to disrupt the peaceful transition of power.

Several veterans are among the far-right extremists accused of organizing coordinated assaults on the Capitol, including members of the Oath Keepers. The latter marched up the Capitol steps in a "stack" formation similar to that deployed by military infantrymen in Afghanistan.

When it came to Gruppo's sentence hearing last Friday, prosecutors' arguments concerning the rioters' military service failed to convince one of the first judges to hear them.

"I don't see his military duty in the same light."

That's something I can't bring myself to do. "Before sentencing Gruppo to two years of probation, which included 90 days of house arrest, Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell made the following statement:

Gruppo's military service, according to a prosecutor, backed the Justice Department's proposal of a 30-day prison term for the defendant.

Gruppo, 56, of New Mexico, was educated, according to Assistant United States Attorney Hava Mirell, to spot the evident danger at the Capitol and "to help rather than harm" those there.

Although he received instruction, she said, "the fact that he purposefully ignored the training and went on to execute one of the most devastating actions against our Constitution and democracy does have an impact on the government's perception of his behavior."

Daniel Lindsey, the defense attorney, contended that his client's military experience should not be used against him in this case.

According to the spokesman, Gruppo first intended to keep his military service a secret because he thought he had dishonored it.

"And he did," Howell said in response. To put it bluntly, "Let's not mince words."

On the other hand, the judge expressed astonishment at the Justice Department's stance, stating that she feels the majority of Americans would have "enormous appreciation" for Gruppo's service.

The reason for this isn't only because Howell grew up on military posts all around the globe, she said.

According to James Markham, a professor of public law and administration at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in most criminal cases, a defendant's military experience is seen as a mitigating element that favors leniency.

However, he acknowledges that the Justice Department might conclude that rioters with military experience should be held to a higher standard than those without such training.

"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," said Markham, a lawyer and Air Force veteran." Markham, a lawyer and former Air Force officer shared his thoughts.

More than 650 individuals were charged in connection with the incident on January 6.

Some of the rioters facing the most severe accusations, including members of far-right extremist organizations, have military histories, which may explain why they face such harsh charges.

 

 

                     What consequences have rioters faced for the Capitol attack?

 

 

 

[Strategic Investment: The Post WWII World Order is About to Collapse]

 

 

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