Hundreds of pro-Trump extremists have been arrested and charged for participating in the deadly failed insurrection against the United States Capitol, motivated by former President Donald Trump's lies that the 2020 election was "stolen" from him.
Despite these arrests, a number of critics have expressed concerns that the Department of Justice isn't doing enough to ensure the consequences fit the crimes committed, and worry that excessive leniency could further embolden insurrectionist actions in the future.
This past August, Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell pressed the U.S. Attorney's Office on why it was only seeking $2000 for each felony case and $500 for each misdemeanor in damages (amounting to a total of about $1.5 million), when the total costs of the Capitol Riots is at least $30 million.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan had similar concerns, if the sentences she's handed down this week are any indication.
Chutkan issued between two weeks and 45 days of prison time across four cases where defendants entered guilty pleas for unlawful parading in the Capitol.
Noting that this was a harsher punishment than prosecutors requested, Chutkan emphasized that:
"There have to be consequences for participating in an attempted violent overthrow of the government, beyond sitting at home."
People praised her decision.
@axios Glad to see someone protecting the rule of law because these prosecutors do not appear to be interested in doing so.— Mary E Haight (@Mary E Haight) 1634183622.0
@axios Good thing that a federal judge recognizes the gravity of the situation and what took place since the DOJ an… https://t.co/xkH96FqN5F— Cimarron Kid (@Cimarron Kid) 1634163115.0
Good for U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan! https://t.co/QbA3nFGTVa— Shanne Hilleman (@Shanne Hilleman) 1634183094.0
Lock. Them. All. Up. https://t.co/yAhfSZZIFS— Christina_SC ~ Sick of your deadly idiocy (@Christina_SC ~ Sick of your deadly idiocy) 1634177099.0
Calls for accountability are growing, and not just for the Capitol Rioters, but for the elected officials who promoted the election lies that prompted the insurrection in the first place.
I 100% agree they aided the insurrectionists and deserve to be held accountable https://t.co/Sqifrr8Q2s— Avery Thornton (@Avery Thornton) 1634061980.0
Democracy cannot survive if we fail to hold insurrectionists accountable. https://t.co/rQWy7esHyw— Tamara Beck (@Tamara Beck) 1633703420.0
More than 650 rioters have been arrested in the months since the riots.