Michael Flynn Judge Emmet Sullivan Decides He's Not Done Beclowning Himself

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

If you followed the trial of Michael Flynn, you are well acquainted with Judge Emmet Sullivan. From weird outbursts in the courtroom to basically holding the hand of the prosecution, he culminated his performance in refusing to accept a DOJ determination that the charges needed to be dropped. That determination was made based on formerly hidden evidence that showed Flynn was essentially set up and had no intent to do anything wrong.

Eventually, due to Sullivan’s partisan demeanor, then-President Donald Trump had to pardon Flynn to stop the madness.

Well, I regret to inform you that Sullivan is at it again, this time in how he’s dealing with cases stemming from the January 6th unrest at the Capitol Building.

Of note here is that the judge is keeping someone in jail without bail based strictly on the generalized public statements of someone that person doesn’t even know. Trump continues to maintain that the election was stolen from him. Ok, so what? What does that have to do with denying people, many of whom never did anything violent, behind bars without even the option of bail?

And look, Jack Whitton, the rioter in question here, is not blameless, but that doesn’t mean our justice system should turn into some bastardized version of the former Soviet Union. People that commit serious, violent crimes still often get bail in this country. A massive protest where a relatively select few clearly stepped over the line does not necessitate throwing out all judicial norms.

There’s this weird tension where if you opine that January 6th was bad, but also that the legal system should be fair to those involved, that you are somehow excusing what happened. That’s not what I’m doing here, and anyone that thinks that simplistically should probably focus more on developing their ability to understand nuance. Anyone who trespassed and destroyed property should be prosecuted, but they shouldn’t be held without bail as if they murdered someone. Further, anyone who was otherwise unarmed but chose to attack cops should also be prosecuted, but they should receive the same treatment within the system that others who have committed similar crimes face.

I don’t think that’s a crazy opinion to hold. Bad precedents are bad precedents, and they will inevitably creep beyond their current bounds. Anyone on the right too short-sighted to see that is doing a disservice. What Sullivan is doing here isn’t defensible within our ostensibly blind justice system, in my opinion. He’s essentially taking a nominal factor (a mild press release from Trump) and using that as an excuse to exact his preferences, which is to keep these people locked up not because they did something that doesn’t deserve bail, but because it pushes a partisan political narrative.