8.19.23 – Epoch Times

“US Court of Appeals Strikes Down Use of Jail and Probation for Jan. 6 ‘Parading’ Misdemeanor”

Three-judge panel rules out 'split sentence' for petty Capitol offense

By Joseph M. Hanneman

Excerpts from this article:


A federal appeals court on Aug. 18 struck down the use of so-called “split sentences” in Jan. 6 cases—imposing both prison and probation for petty-offense misdemeanors such as the often-used charge of “parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.”

The 2–1 ruling by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit could affect a large number of Jan. 6 cases where the U.S. Department of Justice recommended—and district judges imposed—sentences with jail and probation for “parading” convictions.

The appeal involved the conviction of James Leslie Little, 52, of Claremont, North Carolina, on a single count of parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.

In March 2022, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth sentenced Mr. Little to 60 days in jail, followed by three years of probation.

…The statement of facts in the case said Mr. Little walked around the Capitol, “smiling and fist-bumping other people,” and eventually went into the Senate Chamber and took photos of himself.

…The Court of Appeals said the split sentence is not allowed.

“The only question on appeal is whether that sentence is authorized by statute. It is not,” wrote Circuit Judge Justin R. Walker for the appeals court majority. “Probation and imprisonment are alternative sentences that cannot generally be combined. So the district court could not impose both for Little’s petty offense.”

Judge Walker—appointed to the bench by President Donald Trump—was joined by Senior Circuit Judge Judith Rogers—an appointee of President Bill Clinton—in the majority opinion. Dissenting was Circuit Judge Robert Wilkins, who was appointed by President Barack Obama.

The Court of Appeals vacated Mr. Little’s sentence and remanded the case back to U.S. District Court for resentencing.

Parading is one of the most frequently charged crimes in Jan. 6 cases. Judges in U.S. District Court in Washington have disagreed on the use of split sentences for federal petty offenses. Some judges have refused to use split sentences even when encouraged to do so by federal prosecutors.

The Court of Appeals said that under the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984, five options are available for convictions under the Federal Criminal Code: probation, a fine, imprisonment, probation with a fine, and imprisonment with a fine.

“In other words, the Code’s text and structure show that probation and imprisonment may not be imposed as a single sentence,” the ruling said. “They are separate options on the menu.”

Sentencing rules allow judges to impose intermittent imprisonment—jail or home detention—as part of probation, the ruling said, but the federal code prohibits supervised release for petty offenses.



WBTV – Catawba County, North Carolina

“James Little, a Catawba County Resident, Was Charged After Entering the U. S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021”

By Sarah Blake Morgan 

Excerpts from this article: 



[James] Little doesn’t deny that he drove to DC with a friend that day to protest, he says, the results of the 2020 election.

“I kind of felt like I was called by God to go,” he told WBTV.

Little says he walked towards the Capitol building out of curiosity as he watched his fellow protestors go inside.

“It was kind of like watching a train wreck. You can’t look away from a train wreck and I wanted to go look and see what was going on,” Little said. “Plus, instantly I knew this was a moment in American history.”

but says he only walked into the building because police let him.

“They stood there on either side of the door and I walked right in, he said.

Despite the images of violence and brutality that are now synonymous with the insurrection, Little insists what he witnessed was peaceful.

“For a lot of us, it was a patriotic moment,” Little said.

A moment that led to an FBI interview, arrest, and four federal misdemeanor charges.

he was sentenced to two months in prison, a $500 fine, and three years of probation that he says prohibits his use of texting and social media.

…“To me, that’s a basic first amendment right, freedom of speech,” Little said.

Leslie’s biggest issue with the sentence? The probation terms that will keep him off social media and his active YouTube channel.

“I feel like it’s not just about me. It’s about our country and our constitutional rights as a whole,” he said.

…Leslie is scheduled to report to federal prison soon. If his appeal isn’t successful, he says he plans to look at his time behind bars as his mission field.