Various prosecutors are requesting for the courts to impose a prison sentence upon a man who pleaded guilty for his recent involvement in the events of January 6 on Capitol Hill. The prosecutors are basing this request upon the need for deterring “domestic terrorism” cases.
The individual in question is Paul Allard Hodgkins, who is a 38-year-old crane operator from Tampa, Florida. Hodgkins pled guilty to obstruction of a public official in the previous month. For this particular crime, the maximum possible penalty is up to twenty years in prison. However, Hodgkins agreed to a plea agreement, which means that his recommended sentence can range anywhere from 15 to 21 months.
According to Mona Sedky, a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, the call for harsh punishment is based upon “the need to deter others,” which is especially critical in cases involving domestic terrorism, which the breach of the Capitol certainly was.”
Sedky also observed that Christopher Wray, the Director of the FBI, delivered testimony before the Senate in March regarding the threat of increasing violent extremism on the domestic front. In addition, Wray also argued that the events on Capitol Hill have served as further encouragement for some individuals.
In addition, Sedky also inquired for the judge to account for previous court filings, which apparently indicate that even individuals who lack a prior criminal history can apparently be at high risk of recidivism. Specifically, individuals who engaged in the events of Capitol Hill may be “unique among criminals in the likelihood of recidivism.”
According to Department of Justice reports, Hodgkins is guilty of entering the Senate chamber while meandering amongst the desks and removing his eye goggles. Hodgkins proceeded to take selfies with his smartphone while walking down to the Senate where “several individuals were shouting, praying, and cheering” while “using a bullhorn.” Per the DoJ, Hodgkins walked over towards the raucous individuals and stood alongside them “while they continued commanding the attention of others.”
The DoJ was able to identify Hodgkins based on information the FBI received from someone who was familiar with him multiple years ago.
If Hodgkins is ultimately sentenced to prison, he will represent the first defendant involved in the events of Capitol Hill to serve time in incarceration. Jon Schaffer, the only other protestor to enter a plea of guilty, recently agreed to cooperation with prosecutors in order to receive a reduced sentence.
Patrick Leduc, the attorney for Hodgkins, indicated his wishes for a favorable hearing for his client during a court appearance on Monday.
Per Leduc, “there is something to be said about being the first person to stand up,” while noting that he is “going to talk about Paul” while the Department of Justice “obviously … is going to talk about January 6.”