Judge Restores Jan. 6 Defendant's Right to Bear Arms Despite DOJ Objection U.S. District Judge Trevor N. McFadden speaks during his investiture ceremony April 13, 2018 at the U.S. District Court in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty)
By Nicole Wells | Friday, 08 April 2022 11:46 AM
A Texas florist’s right to possess firearms was restored by a judge Thursday, weeks after she was sentenced to two months probation and a $5,000 fine for her role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden granted Jenny Cudd’s request to rescind a term of her probation that banned her from owning of possessing any “firearm, ammunition, destructive device or dangerous weapon.”
In his Thursday ruling, McFadden acknowledged Cudd wore a "bulletproof sweatshirt" to the Jan. 6 protest, but he accepted her explanation that she wore it out of fear that she would encounter violence, not because she was provoking it.
"The Government presented no evidence that Cudd incited anyone to violence," McFadden wrote. "Nor did it present evidence that she participated in violence. She has no prior criminal history. And Cudd’s bullet proof sweatshirt is consistent with her fear of being attacked at the rally preceding her entry into the Capitol. This says nothing about her danger to others."
In his decision, McFadden cited D.C. v. Heller – the 2008 Supreme Court ruling that maintained that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to self-defense.
“The Court will not limit that right for a nonviolent misdemeanant who credibly fears for her safety,” the judge wrote.
Cudd had asked that the probation condition be eliminated because of threats she received from the publicity surrounding her involvement in the Capitol attack, which happened as lawmakers were preparing to certify President Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.
The ruling was the latest obstacle delivered by McFadden for the DOJ, Politico reports. A Trump appointee, McFadden has a reputation as the most skeptical member of the D.C. District Court regarding prosecutors’ claims about Jan. 6.
McFadden’s order in Cudd’s case comes one day after he handed down the first acquittal of a Jan. 6 defendant, finding Matthew Martin, a former government contractor from New Mexico, not guilty of four misdemeanors.
Politico reports that McFadden has candidly questioned federal prosecutors’ priorities, suggesting that they are treating the Jan. 6 defendants more aggressively than they did people accused of violence during the racial justice protests of 2020.
McFadden's colleagues have disagreed with him about the 2020 protests, Politico reports, arguing that some who participated in the violence received harsh sentences. They have also claimed that the Capitol attack was an unusual situation and more dangerous because it threatened to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next.