Speaking of two-tiered justice...
Citing the Justice Department's lenient treatment of left-wing rioters compared to the harsh treatment of Jan. 6, 2021 rioters at the Capitol, including many who "are not accused of entering the Capitol or committing violence," Rep. Jim Banks (R.-Ind.), in a two-page letter dated June 14, 2022, accused Attorney General Merrick Garland of leading "a two-tiered system of justice" at the Department of Justice.
Congressman Banks asserted: "Violent rioters who are likely to vote Democrats [sic] are often released with a slap on the wrist, or less, while January 6th defendants are prosecuted to the harshest extent possible."
Asserting that "the unequal application of justice is an injustice," Mr. Banks accused the attorney general of politicizing federal law, thereby assaulting "the basic American principle of equal justice under the law."
Rep. Banks opened his letter to Mr. Garland by noting that the Justice Department had dropped the arson case against Victor A. Sanchez-Santa. On June 18, 2020, Mr. Sanchez-Santa set a cloth glove on fire and put the glove under a New York City police car. The incident was reported in the New York media, including a report from NBC News.
A press release from the office of the U.S. attorney for the South District of New York pointed out that the accused had targeted law enforcement.
The release also quoted fire commissioner Daniel Nigro: "Arson is a callous act that simultaneously puts the lives of New Yorkers and first responders in danger."
The congressman indicated that while arson carries a prison sentence up to 20 years, Mr. Sanchez-Santa was given nine months' probation and required to take a course in anger management. Mr. Banks also called attention to sentences given two Manhattan attorneys who hurled Molotov cocktails at a New York City police car in May 2020. Although liable to up to ten years in federal prison, the congressman noted that they will serve two years or less.
Rep. Banks then took an overview of the leftist riots, summer 2020, in most large U.S. cities, "costing an estimated $1–2 billion" in damage to property, "at least a dozen deaths, and injuring about 2,000 police officers." He cited a report in Politico indicating that the unrest in Portland, summer of 2020 will not result in criminal convictions and a Wall Street Journal story that the Department of Justice will not prosecute "half of all the rioters arrested on federal charges in Portland."
"In sharp contrast," the Banks letter to the attorney general continued, "the Justice Department has vigorously prosecuted defendants accused of participating in the January 6 raid at the Capitol. To date, the Justice Department has filed charges against at least 862 Americans and dropped just a handful of those charges. Multiple defendants are being charged with 'trespassing on restricted grounds' but are not accused of entering the Capitol or committing violence." This observation prompts the question: what grounds outside the Capitol are "restricted?"
Congressman Banks concluded his letter by calling on the attorney general to provide his office, "[n]o later than June 24, 2022," with the material in the Sanchez-Santa file that caused the Justice Department "not to prosecute Mr. Sanchez-Santa for setting a police car on fire."
Jim Banks should be applauded by civil libertarians for speaking out against "the two-tiered system of justice" carried out by the Biden administration (not to mention being thankful that Garland was blocked from membership on the Supreme Court). This observer might be excused, however, for regretting that the good Banks letter to the attorney general was not co-signed by every GOP member of the House of Representatives — save two, of course.
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