Criminal Justice

With 22-Year Sentence, Ex-Proud Boys Leader Enrique Tarrio Pays Hefty 'Trial Penalty'

Plus: New York City's crackdown on short-term rentals, Brazil's UFO investigations, and more...


Yet another Proud Boy is paying a hefty "trial penalty" for January 6. On Tuesday, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., sentenced former Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio to 22 years in prison for his part in organizing the 2021 protest-turned-riot that obstructed Congress' ratification of Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 presidential election.

Tarrio was not at the riot on January 6. He was in Baltimore, after having been arrested two days prior in a separate criminal case. He did however post messages encouraging the riot on social media and claimed credit for helping carry it out after the fact.

That was enough to convince a jury three months ago to find him guilty of "seditious conspiracy" for his involvement.

Prosecutors had sought a 33-year sentence for Tarrio. U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly declined to go that far. But he did slap Tarrio with a sentencing enhancement for committing an act of terrorism.

His 22-year sentence is the longest any January 6 defendant has received to date. Fellow Proud Boy Ethan Nordean and Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes have each previously been sentenced to 18 years in prison on seditious conspiracy charges as well.

Most other defendants, including many who directly participated in the riot, have received much more modest sentences of a few months to a few years.

"[Prosecutors] got a really long sentence by asking for something really absurd," said C.J. Ciaramella on yesterday's Reason Roundtable.  "In cases where January 6 defendants did plead guilty, expressed remorse, the judges were much more likely to go easy on them."

Those like Tarrio who chose to take it to trial instead of pleading guilty are receiving sentences one might get for murder.

This is an example of what's called the "trial penalty" whereby prosecutors, who would otherwise accept a much lighter sentence as part of a plea bargain, seek much harsher sentences for defendants who insist on a jury trial.

This practice has been harshly criticized by liberal and libertarian groups for effectively punishing people just for exercising their constitutional right to a trial by jury.

The American Bar Association found that average sentences for federal felony convictions are seven years longer for defendants who went to trial. Prosecutors' preference for plea bargains also sees them layer on as many charges or stretch the applicability of vague statutes to coerce defendants into forfeiting their right to a trial.

The end result is that those convicted at trial go to prison for longer than even prosecutors think is necessary.

"Today's sentencing demonstrates that those who attempted to undermine the workings of American democracy will be held criminally accountable," said FBI Director Christopher Wray yesterday. And U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves said that those who used "force against their own government to prevent the peaceful transfer of power have now been held accountable."

In other words, both Wray and Graves are satisfied that Tarrio had been held adequately accountable despite the fact that he ended up with a sentence that was a decade less than what the DOJ had advocated for. Their goal was securing a maximum sentence for Tarrio and others, not a sentence just long enough to hold them accountable for his crimes.

Tarrio and others receiving sentences of over a decade for their role in January 6 are hardly sympathetic figures. Yet the amount of time they'll spend in prison is nevertheless a product of a trial penalty that is widely considered to be unjust. If one opposes these enhanced penalties in the routine administration of criminal justice, we should oppose them in the case of the January 6 defendants as well.


Travelers to New York City can expect their next stay to be much more expensive, thanks to the city's latest crackdown on Airbnb. On Tuesday, the city implemented new rules that make thousands of existing short-term rentals illegal.

Under the new regulations, those renting out their properties on Airbnb, VRBO, and the like must register with the city, be physically present during their guests' entire stay, and limit themselves to no more than two guests at a time.

The Associated Press reports that only 300 short-term rental properties have successfully registered with the city, out of 3,800 pending applications. Airbnb has said that they won't process reservations for unregistered properties.

Meanwhile, zoning restrictions adopted in 2018 and 2021 make it nearly impossible to build new hotels in the city, by requiring individual hotel projects to get special discretionary permits, which themselves require through potentially years of review.

The city's hotel workers union pushed these restrictions to crack down on the construction of new, non-unionized hotels.

The upshot of all of these restrictions on supply is that it'll be more difficult and more expensive for travelers to find a place to sleep when they visit New York City.


At least one government is telling the truth about UFOs. The Washington Post reports that the Brazilian government is far more transparent about its investigations into unidentified aerial phenomena. A snippet:

Early one August evening in 1954, a Brazilian plane was tracked by an unidentified object of "strong luminosity" that didn't appear on radar. Two decades later, a river community in the northern Amazon jungle was repeatedly visited by glowing orbs that beamed lights down onto the inhabitants. In 1986, more than 20 unidentified aerial phenomena lit up the skies over Brazil's most populous states, sending the Brazilian air force out in pursuit.

The stories are not the ravings of a UFO buff. They are official assessments by Brazilian pilots and military officers — who often struggled to put into words what they'd seen — and can be found in Brazil's remarkable historical archive of reported UFO visitations.

Even more extraordinary? It's all public record.

There are no security clearances. No heavily redacted documents. Anyone can access the files — the military reports, the videos and audio recordings, the grainy unverified photographs — and thousands of people have.

Read the whole thing here.


  • Chris "Fronz" Fronzak, vocalist of metalcore band Attila has announced that he'll seek the Libertarian Party's nomination for president, reports LambGoat.
  • The family of a woman who died in the Maui wildfires last month is suing the state and a local landowner for allegedly neglecting their fire-prone properties, says NBC News.
  • At Astral Codex Ten, Scott Alexander unveils his presidential platform in which he proposes giving billionaires naming rights over new aircraft carriers (for a price) and appointing Donald Trump as a constitutional monarch.
  • The Endangered Species Act could force the Sioux Falls Zoo to destroy some decadesold, arsenic-containing taxidermied lions, tigers, and gorillas. Oh my!
  • The British government is for the moment backing off its plans to use new powers under an online safety bill to "scan messaging apps for harmful content" reports the Financial Times.

And get unlimited access to everything at