Some sixty people are still behind bars eight months after the January 6 disturbance at the U.S. Capitol. A Daily Wire review of court records shows unusually aggressive prosecutorial maneuvers, which sometimes brought rebukes by judges.
For example, Jose Padilla has been detained since February. “Padilla is 40 years old and has lived in Tennessee for most of his life. He previously served in the U.S. Army during the Iraq War. After he returned home, he was diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (‘PTSD’) and began receiving disability benefits. Prior to his arrest, he was a stay-at-home dad who managed his family’s household affairs and cared for his three sons during the day while his wife worked as a librarian. He has no criminal history or history of substance abuse. He also has no known ties to extremist groups,” Judge John D. Bates summarized.
Prosecutors argued that his being a stay-at-home dad and veteran were reasons to hold him in jail.
The judge wrote that “the government contended that two features of Padilla’s background favor pretrial detention: (1) his role as a stay-at-home dad, which, according to the government, gives him ‘idle time to . . . engage in conspiracy theories’ and ‘[run] down rabbit holes through social media.’ The Court cannot accept the proposition that stay-at-home parents pose a greater threat to public safety. And although the Court agrees with Judge Faruqui’s statement that, as a former service member, Padilla had every reason to know that ‘what occurred on January 6th was totally unacceptable,’ the fact of military service is complicated and can cut both ways.”
The government also argued that his military service-induced PTSD was a reason to hold him, an assertion that the judge sharply rebutted — pointing out that if the government believed he was a suicide risk, it had done little to ensure he got help in jail.
“The government’s assertion that Padilla’s ‘mental health conditions’ evince a risk of flight is unsubstantiated by the current record. Although Padilla was diagnosed with PTSD following his military service, he has been ‘actively engaged in treatment with a V.A. provider,’ and no other specifics about his mental health status have been provided to the Court,” the judge wrote. “The government also posits that Padilla had suicidal ideations in 2018—a fact that he sharply disputes. But even if that is true, the government admits that he is ‘not currently having suicidal thoughts.’ Nor has the government taken any steps—such as requesting that he receive mental health services in prison or be placed on suicide watch—that would suggest this is a real concern for the government.”
Some of the cases involve physical assaults, while in other cases, the charges are minor. But in most cases, prosecutors’ efforts have been aggressive.
Ryan Samsel, who allegedly pushed a bike rack that was serving as a barricade, purportedly causing it to strike a police officer, was arrested on January 30 and held for seven months without being indicted or having a preliminary hearing, according to court records. He was finally indicted on August 25. By then, he had been held in solitary confinement at a D.C. jail and been beaten. He is now being held in the Central Virginia Regional Jail.
On September 11, his lawyer wrote, “He has been detained since and spent substantial time enduring the torture of solitary confinement… On or about March 21, 2021, Mr. Samsel was viciously assaulted while in the custody of the District of Columbia Department of Corrections, and while detained in ‘administrative segregation’—the latest euphemism for solitary confinement. He was taken to Howard University Hospital the next day, on March 22, 2021, where he was admitted and treated for injuries including… bilateral nasal bone fracture… as a result of the brutal assault, Mr. Samsel lost vision in his right eye…. CVRJ Medical Records make clear that medical orders and referrals have been ignored.”
On January 11, another defendant, Jeffrey Sabor, was pulled over in New York “covered in blood” from an alleged suicide attempt. He said “I am tired, I am done fighting,” according to prosecutors.
“On January 12, 2021, law enforcement officers spoke with SABOL while he was recovering at the Westchester Medical Center. SABOL advised that on January 6, 2021, he was at the U.S. Capitol.”
On August 4, a superseding indictment added on more charges to Sabor’s case, charging that he used “a deadly or dangerous weapon, that is, a baton, flag pole, and crutch, did forcibly assault, resist, oppose, impede, intimidate, and interfere with, an officer and employee of the United States.”
Douglas Jensen, who allegedly had a knife at the Capitol, was released from jail, then sent back for violating his terms of release when he was found using a “WiFi-connected iPhone to stream news from Rumble.”
In another case, a judge chided prosecutors for apparent unconcern about the rights of the media.
“On August 19, 2021, the Court issued an arrest warrant for Jonathon Owen Shroyer (a/k/a Jonathan Owen Shroyer), ‘a Texas-based talk-show host associated with the website Infowars.’ The Department of Justice has recently updated its policies on the investigation of media members, noting the importance of a free press to a vibrant democracy. As part of its review, the Court inquired if the Department of Justice had complied with 28 C.F.R. § 50.10, (‘Policy regarding obtaining information from, or records of, members of the news media’). The Department refused to provide an answer on the record,” Magistrate Judge Zia M. Faruqui wrote.
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