The Justice System Sure Is Being Sweet To These Insurrectionists — Now Do Everyone Else
On Friday, a judge ruled that Texas florist Jenny Cudd — one of the insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol on January 6 — would be allowed to attend a "bonding retreat" with her employees in Riviera Maya, Mexico, on account of the fact that it had already been planned and paid for. U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden granted her request, noting that Cudd "has no criminal history and there is no evidence before the Court suggesting the Defendant is a flight risk or poses a danger to others." Other than, you know, an interest in overthrowing the United States government.
According to the criminal complaint filed against her, Cudd bragged, on video, about breaking Nancy Pelosi's office door down and stated "Fuck yes, I am proud of my actions, I fucking charged the Capitol today with patriots today. Hell yes I am proud of my actions." Cudd later told reporters that she would "absolutely" do it again.
Just so we're clear — Cudd said that she is proud of the multiple felonies she committed and would happily do them all over again, and a judge thought "Eh, let her go to Mexico. Surely she is a danger to no one!"
Cudd has been charged with "corruptly obstructing an official proceeding of Congress; entering and remaining in a restricted building; committing disorderly or disruptive conduct in a restricted building; committing disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building," several of which are felonies.
This news came on the heels of the news that a judge had ordered that Jacob Chansley, aka the QAnon Shaman, be served only organic food, because non-organic food is against his religion that he made up.
It is really hard not to feel some kind of way about this in light of the fact that I personally know people who have had to drink toilet water while in jail, because there was no other water available to them.
But I don't think that Chansley should have to drink toilet water, I think that every incarcerated person deserves good, healthy food. I actually do not think people should be incarcerated, period, but while that is the case, all improvements are welcome.
I have never liked terms like "Club Fed" or talk about how certain prisons are "like country clubs." This is not because I think rich people deserve a better class of prison, but rather because I can't even begin wrap my head around the idea of looking at our American prison system and going "Yes, now this is how things should work!" Our prison system is not only horrific, it is completely ineffective at doing anything other than insuring that those who go into it are worse when they come out. It's not about what's best for society, what is best for those who are incarcerated, or what is the most effective, it's about what makes people on the outside feel good and safe and as though justice is being done. And people sure do love making their "don't drop the soap" jokes.
The problem isn't just that these people get off so easily, or that judges look at young, white rapists and worry about ruining their bright futures, but that we're so hard on people otherwise, both the convicted and the accused, and that no one else's possibly bright future is a concern.
The unfairness of it all is galling. It's hard to see these people — people who very likely approve of the justice system otherwise and favor "tough on crime" legislation — be treated so much more fairly and so much better than others in the system. Just like it was galling that the Wall Street bankers and executives whose actions led to the 2008 financial crisis didn't go to prison while others were being sentenced to decades in prison for much smaller crimes.
Jenny Cudd experienced a much different justice system than most people ever will. She could afford to pay her bail, she had a judge who clearly empathized with her and assumed she would follow the law while out on bail, even while traveling abroad. Jacob Chansley is likely experiencing a very different time in jail than most people ever will.
As cathartic as it may feel, the answer to this obvious unfairness isn't simply calling for harsher prison sentences, higher bail or stricter bail conditions for wealthy white people who commit crimes like "trying to overthrow the United States government" — although doing so might make them a little more aware of the issues with our justice system — but in calling for things to be less horrible all around for every incarcerated or accused person, period.
This is your open thread! Enjoy!
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse