Jan. 6 riot defendant Thomas Sibick wrote a letter denouncing former President Donald Trump and describing his own “shame, dishonor, and regret,” and after months of being locked away without bail, he was released on Tuesday.
Earlier this month, before writing the letter, Sibick had requested release — but was denied by US District Court Judge Amy Jackson.
Under the terms of his release, Sibick won’t be allowed to watch Fox News or MSNBC, judge’s orders.
A Barack Obama appointee, Judge Jackson released Sibick to the custody of his father, Dr. Eugene Sibick, a retired Navy officer. She told him, “I’m not going to order that he not watch Fox News; I’m going to order that you turn off the talk shows, period. No MSNBC either.”
“I’m trying to make sure it’s a calm environment,” she added, “And I’m looking to you to make sure of that.”
At the “Justice for J6” rally in September — AKA “Feds ‘R’ Us” — Dr. Sibick described his son’s extended pre-trial detention as making him a “political prisoner.”
Sibick won’t enjoy much liberty outside of jail, but at least he’ll be tucked safely away from certain elements on the inside.
Judge Jackson worried that the conditions in the DC jail where Sibick was held with other Jan. 6 defendants “were likely to contribute to his further radicalization,” according to 13 News Now.
What’s so radicalizing and “toxic” (Jackson’s word) about the jail’s “Patriot Wing”?
Here’s Tess Owen from Vice to tell you: “At 9 p.m. every night, inmates in the so-called Patriot Wing of the D.C. Correctional Treatment Facility reportedly stand at attention and sing The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The “roughly 40” Jan. 6 prisoners even have a newsletter, according to Owen.
Patriotic songs and a newsletter? Heavens. It’s the end of the Republic.
In all seriousness, I’m not arguing that every one of these men is innocent. There were some actual rioters present on Jan. 6, even if it seems certain they were instigated at least in part by the FBI and in some cases perhaps even abetted by Capitol Police.
But Sibick is on video apparently assaulting DC Police Officer Michael Fanone and taking his badge and gun. That kind of thing ought to mean serious charges.
What’s disturbing here is twofold. The first issue is that the judge seems to feel that Sibick has some kind of mental condition necessitating psychiatric care.
OK, fine, that happens.
But the second is that whatever his mental condition is, it’s reflected in his political views. One day, Sibick supports Trump and sings the national anthem — and is too sick to be released. Another day, Sibick recants all that — and is suddenly healthy enough to get out of jail, even if he isn’t exactly free.
If Sibick’s mental condition is his political views, and that with the proper treatment he can be cured of them, then we’re witnessing the Sovietization of American justice.
In the later Soviet Union under Leonid Brezhnev, it became impolitic to simply shoot most political prisoners. Instead, they’d be committed to “psychiatric hospitals” for “treatment.” Communism is for the benefit of all mankind, you see, and you’d have to be crazy to oppose it.
Soviet political psych wards were a few steps up from a forced labor camp, but they weren’t very long steps.
From where I sit, it sure looks as though Sibick needs a fair and speedy trial and to be judged by a jury of his peers. Or if he truly does have a serious mental condition, to receive proper treatment instead of prison time.
But it also looks like Judge Jackson might be setting a dangerous precedent.
Or maybe she just did another reveal of what many of us have suspected for a long time: That justice in the federal courts has been oppressively politicized.