Yes, you're right: The Department of Justice has a double-standard

The surest sign that you're living in a corrupt country is that people are not treated equally under the law.  Those who are politically disfavored are denied justice, while those whom the government favors walk away from their crimes.  America is now a corrupt country if the legal treatment accorded January 6 protesters is compared to those on the left.  This was made perfectly clear when comparing the sentence given to Jacob Chansley (the "QAnon Shaman"), who dared to walk through Congress, and Thomas Alexander Starks, who attacked a senator's office with an axe.

Jonathan Turley, the entirely honest law professor who has yet to realize that he's no longer a Democrat, wrote about their disparate treatment:

We have been discussing the continued incarceration of many individuals for their participation in the Jan. 6th riot.  Despite claims that the riot was an insurrection, the vast majority of defendants have been given relatively minor charges. Nevertheless, the Justice Department has insisted on holding many without bail and some have received longer sentences, like Jacob Chansley (aka "QAnon Shaman") who was given a 41-month sentence for "obstructing a federal proceeding."

Thomas "Tas" Alexander Starks, 31, of Lisbon, N.D., faced a strikingly different approach by the Justice Department. The self-avowed Antifa member took an axe to the office of Sen. John Hoeven[] in Fargo on Dec. 21, 2020. Federal sentencing guidelines suggested 10–16 months in prison but he was only sentenced to probation and fined $2,784 for restitution ... he then reportedly mocked the FBI for returning his axe. Others declared him a hero and Democratic politicians pitched in for his legal defense.

In addition to the vastly different sentences given to the two men, Chansley was made to grovel.  After ten months in prison (mostly in solitary) and in a manner consistent with the Maoist cultural revolution, the judge required that Chansley, who has struggled with mental illness, confess his sins and promise repentance.

By contrast, Starks walked away victorious from his encounter with the law:

Starks has made clear that he was neither apologetic nor deterred from the use of such violence. He has posted under the Facebook moniker, "Paul Dunyan," an apparent reference to his preferred use of an axe as a form of political expression.  He displays the Antifa symbol and, while awaiting sentencing, reportedly wrote: "I am ANTIFA. I will always attack fascists, racial superiority complexes built around nationalism that promotes genocide to fuel a war machine is the worst humanity has to offer."

Prof. Turley also points out that GoFundMe, which had shut down Kyle Rittenhouse's defense fund, happily hosted one for Starks.  Democrat politicians also spoke on his behalf.

The good professor found especially disturbing (in an "our criminal justice system is not fair" kind of way) the fact that Starks got his axe back:

Putting aside the light sentence, the returning of the axe is rather curious. It would seem an instrument of the crime and could be declared lost in any plea. Instead, it was returned as if it was a form of political expression by the Justice Department.

Starks is now free to axe his way to a better world. It is hard to imagine the poor choice of prosecutors or the judge to cut such a deal with Starks (and not specify that the axe would be lost as an instrumentality of the crimes).

Many years ago, my legal mentor explained to a Chinese client (as in, a client who had grown up in and escaped from Communist China) that the most important principle in a free country such as America is a reliable, even-handed legal system, in matters both criminal and civil.  Only in that way can people conduct the business of life with an eye to the future, rather than just scrabbling from day to day and having their success entirely dependent on paying for the goodwill of their oppressors.

Were my mentor still alive today, he would say to that client, "You left communist China, but you're now living in the same system as before, one dependent on staying on the correct side of the political party in power."

Image: Thomas Starks axe attack.  Twitter screen grab.

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