U.S. District Judge, Cormac J. Carney explained why he was giving Tyler Laube a lenient punishment in his sentencing memo on Thursday.

It wasn’t only because of what Laube did or didn’t do. Lube had already admitted to assaulting and beating a journalist at a 2017 Southern California rally and pleaded guilty to charges leveled against him for breaking riot laws as part of a white supremacist group.

Judge Criticizes Prosecution’s Focus In Laube Sentencing

Carney said that Laube had earned a light sentence because prosecutors should have concentrated on leftist groups.

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In a 22-page memo, Carney emphasized that prosecutors have time and time again ‘ignored’ the violence carried out by Antifa and instead concentrated on prosecuting individuals like Laube, who are supporters of Trump and part of the extreme right.

Judge Explains Reasoning Behind Laube Sentencing

“Sentencing Mr. Laube to additional incarceration would only increase the disparity between his punishment and the lack of punishment (and prosecution) members of far-left groups who have committed the same violent conduct received,” Carney wrote. 

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Instead of the six months that prosecutors wanted, Laube got credit for the 35 days he already served.

Antifa Trial Coincides With Laube Sentencing

On the same day that Laube received his sentence at the federal courthouse in Santa Ana, California, the largest-ever trial of Antifa members in U.S. history was happening just 89 miles away. 

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In San Diego, the last two defendants in the “San Diego 11” – Antifa members accused of attacking Trump supporters in January 2021 – were facing a jury. Their nine co-defendants had already been convicted and sentenced. Some of them received years in prison for their actions.

Both Cases Are Not Exact Mirrors

The two cases are not exact mirrors. Laube was charged and sentenced in federal court, while the Antifa defendants, Jeremy White and Brian Lightfoot, were charged by a local district attorney in state court. However, both cases involved clashes between the far left and far right at protests.

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They both include fracases caught on camera. The cases also focused on not just the violence but the alleged organization and planning by the group before the confrontations.

Carney’s Remarks Raises Eyebrows

Legal experts told USA TODAY that the federal judge’s strong and politically biased remarks are both unusual and frankly ignorant. “He’s really gone off the deep end,” said John Donohue, a professor at Stanford Law School.

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According to him, federal judges have a lot of leeway as regards the sentencing of criminals, which they typically exercise with care and reasoning. However, he has doubts about whether Carney showed such caution in the Laube case, particularly considering the high-profile Antifa trial in San Diego.

Experts Doubt Judge’s Assessment Of Prosecution Balance

“It’s very hard for me to believe he (Carney) really has any accurate sense about what the relative prosecutions are of people on the left and the right in these assault cases,” Donohue said.

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He stated that the investigation would demand a more sophisticated inquiry than a federal judge simply offering off-the-cuff opinions. 

Carney’s Remarks Tagged As Political

David LaBahn, president of the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, echoed Donohue’s sentiment. “It’s very disappointing for the judge to second-guess the work of the U.S. Attorney’s office,” he said. “This sounds to be very political instead of the role of the judge – calling balls and strikes, justice, equality, fairness.”

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In an email, Carney’s courtroom deputy said that the judge is “ethically precluded from commenting on a pending case.”

A White Supremacist Fight Club

Laube is one of four people involved in the ongoing prosecution of members of the Rise Above Movement, a now-disbanded white supremacist group known as a “fight club.” The group used to attend protests in California and other places, often getting into conflicts with left-wing groups.

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After the altercations at a rally in Huntington Beach in March 2017, the men were initially charged in 2018 with breaking federal laws related to rioting and conspiring to riot.

Charges Against White Supremacists Dismissed By Carney….Twice

Over the last six years, Carney has dismissed charges against accused white supremacists twice. One of them, Robert Rundo, the alleged leader of RAM, was brought back from Romania last year to face these charges. Rundo is still in custody while federal prosecutors continue to appeal that dismissal.

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Last year, Laube agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor for assaulting the journalist. Prosecutors had asked Carney to sentence Laube to at least six months in prison. However, he was sentenced to time already served and was hit with a $2,000 fine instead.

Carney References Laube’s Tough Childhood In Memo

Carney’s sentencing memo highlighted Laube’s difficult upbringing, including periods of homelessness and having a mother who struggled with addiction and at times dealt with methamphetamines, as grounds for keeping the 27-year-old out of prison.

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However, the primary focus of the judge’s rationale centered on what he perceived as disparities in the prosecution of the far-right and far-left. Most experts concur that far-right extremists outnumber those on the far left and have been responsible for more physical violence on American streets.

No Question That Far Right Commits More Violence

“There’s no question the far right commit the most violence and the most terrorism,” said Heidi Beirich, co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism. “And there’s no comparison between far-right extremism and left-wing extremism when it comes to violence against people.”

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LaBahn emphasized that prosecutors are the “end user” in the criminal justice process. They can only pursue cases that are presented to them by investigators. So if more far-right extremists are committing crimes that are investigated, it’s only normal that the majority of prosecutions of extremists will be focused on the far-right.

This Has Not Always Been The Case

Michael Sherwin, a former high-ranking U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., who led the prosecution of Jan. 6 rioters, noted that this has not always been the pattern in America’s history.

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He explained that his office prosecuted numerous individuals for crimes during the social justice protests following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, the majority of whom were likely politically left-leaning.

Those Were All Leftists

“We charged more people over the summer of 2020 than any district in the United States,” Sherwin said. “Defacing government property, assault on police officers – those were all leftists.”

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The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles, which is prosecuting the Rise Above Movement case has refused to make any remarks on the Laube sentence.