First Person Convicted at Trial Over Jan. 6 Receives Brutal Sentence, More Than 3X the Average of George Floyd Rioters


The harsh sentence handed down on Monday to the first person convicted in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol incursion proves the two-tier system of justice is alive and well.

U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich sentenced Guy Reffitt, an oil-field worker from Wylie, Texas, to seven years and three months in prison, which, according to Yahoo News, is the longest sentence to be imposed on a Jan. 6 defendant to date.

In addition, he was ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution and receive mental health treatment, The New York Times reported.

Establishment media reports of Reffitt’s sentencing say he was a member of a “far-right” group called the Three Percenters militia.

The Anti-Defamation League defines the organization’s mission as “a small number of dedicated ‘patriots’ protecting Americans from government tyranny, just as the patriots of the American Revolution protected early Americans from British tyranny.”

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The group’s website declared, “We stand for freedom, liberty, and the Constitution. We will combat all those who are corrupt. We are America’s insurance policy. We will not see our republic fall. We are everywhere. We are the three percent.”

Reffitt was convicted in March on five felony charges including “obstructing Congress’s certification of the 2020 presidential election, carrying a .40-caliber pistol during the riot and two counts of civil disorder,” the Times reported.

Although federal guidelines called for a sentence of nine to 11 years, prosecutors requested a “terrorism enhancement,” which the Times explained is sometimes applied in domestic terrorism cases. They recommended that Reffitt, who did not enter the Capitol building that day, serve 15 years.

Is Reffitt's sentence too harsh?

During the trial, Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey Nestler and Risa Berkower tried to paint Reffitt as a “key instigator in the attack.” Yahoo reported he’d been “armed with a handgun, body armor and zip ties” and “cleared the way for others to breach the building.”

In their sentencing memo, the prosecutors wrote that Reffitt “sought not just to stop Congress, but also to physically attack, remove, and replace the legislators who were serving in Congress.” His behavior, they claimed, was “a quintessential example of an intent to both influence and retaliate against government conduct through intimidation or coercion.”

Friedrich, who was nominated to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by then-President Donald Trump in 2017, denied the terrorism enhancement, which she said would result in an “unwarranted sentencing disparity” with other Jan. 6 cases.

Before handing down her sentence, she said, “There are a lot of cases where defendants possessed weapons or committed very violent assaults. … The government is asking for a sentence that is three times as long as any other defendant, and the defendant did not assault an officer.”

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According to Yahoo, Reffitt told the court, “I did want to definitely make an apology, multiple apologies, really, and accept my responsibility because I do hate what I did.”

The judge asked him if he agreed he’d engaged in unlawful activity. Reffitt replied, “I clearly f***ed up.”

Friedrich responded, “I can’t help but wonder, whether like many other Jan. 6 defendants, I’m hearing what I’d like to hear from you as opposed to what you really believe.”

Reffitt has been held in federal custody since his January 2021 arrest. He did not testify during his trial.

Although his sentence fell below the federal guidelines, it was still more than three times longer than the average sentence handed down to defendants in the George Floyd riots that took place in the summer of 2020.

According to an August 2021 report by The Associated Press, more than 120 defendants had either pleaded guilty or had been convicted for “federal crimes including rioting, arson and conspiracy.” The average sentence for the approximately 70 defendants who’d been sentenced at that time was just 27 months, and “at least 10 received prison terms of five years or more,” the report said.

Considering the riots that followed Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody caused nearly $2 billion in damage, destroyed countless businesses and buildings, and resulted in 18 deaths and innumerable injuries to police officers and others, according to Fox News, Reffitt’s sentence of 87 months seems excessive.

The AP quoted Boston College Law School professor Kent Greenfield as dismissing any comparison between Jan. 6 and the Floyd riots.

“The property damage or accusations of arson and looting from last year, those were serious and they were dealt with seriously, but they weren’t an attack on the very core constitutional processes that we rely on in a democracy, nor were they an attack on the United States Congress,” Greenfield said.

Yeah … no.

It’s almost enough to persuade someone to join “a small number of dedicated ‘patriots’ protecting Americans from government tyranny.”

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Elizabeth writes commentary for The Western Journal and The Washington Examiner. Her articles have appeared on many websites, including MSN, RedState, Newsmax, The Federalist and RealClearPolitics. Please follow Elizabeth on Twitter or LinkedIn.
Elizabeth is a contract writer at The Western Journal. Her articles have appeared on many conservative websites including RedState, Newsmax, The Federalist,, HotAir, MSN and RealClearPolitics.

Please follow Elizabeth on Twitter.