A mother who took a bus from Connecticut to attend Donald Trump’s rally with her daughter on Jan. 6 and ended up joining the riotous crowd that breached the Capitol building will spend five weekends in jail, while her daughter will be kept in home confinement.
Carla Krzywicki, 20, and her mother Jean Lavin, 57, pleaded guilty in January to one count each of parading and picketing inside a Capitol building. Video shows them climbing a bike rack that had been turned upright like a ladder to reach the terrace of the Capitol. Police were previously using the bike rack as a barricade against the crowd.
Krzywicki and Lavin were also spotted in various rooms inside the building, with Lavin carrying a sign that read “Trump Won” on one side and “Don’t allow 7 states of cheaters to hijack our election!” on the other.
The pair had taken a bus from Connecticut to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 to attend Trump’s so-called “Stop the Steal” rally protesting the results of the 2020 presidential election, but they arrived too late: the bus got lost in New York and got to D.C. after Trump’s speech has finished. They were dropped off by the crowd that was gathering in front of the Capitol building.
Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell sentenced Lavin to three years of probation, including as a condition of probation a term of 10 days in jail to be served intermittently over the course of five weekends. She also ordered Lavin to serve two months of home detention as well as a fine of $2,500 fine in addition to the standard $500 in restitution that has become standard for Jan. 6 defendants who have pleaded guilty.
Krzywicki received a sentence of three years’ probation, including a condition of 90 days’ home confinement. She will also have to undergo mental health treatment.
Prosecutors had requested 14 days in jail for Lavin and 30 days for Krzywicki. Both defendants had requested sentences of probation only.
Lawyer: Krzywicki Is No Longer an “Obedient Follower”
At the sentencing hearing on Friday, Howell, a Barack Obama appointee, indicated that Lavin’s decision to breach the Capitol while her daughter was with her was particularly offensive.
“She used her influence as a mother to bring her co-defendant daughter into the Capitol on Jan. 6,” Howell said.
Indeed, much of Krzywicki’s defense was that she had been “fully influenced” by Lavin in her decision to go to the Capitol.
At the hearing, defense attorney Heather Shaner—whose clients have included Jan. 6 defendants who wrote reviews of books and movies such as Schindler’s List and Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee as a way to show they’ve learned a lesson of sorts from their roles in the Capitol attack—argued that the whole incident has been a “major maturing event and a conversion” for her Krzywicki.
“Since Jan. 6, she is no longer [her parents’] obedient follower,” Shaner said. “She has been reading. She has turned off Fox News … She read Just Mercy to learn about our criminal justice system.” Shaner said that Krzywicki’s political views now lean “closer to Bernie Sanders” than to Trump.
“Until she came to Washington, D.C., and returned from Washington, D.C., she had walked in the shadow of her mother,” Shaner said. “She no longer does that.”
At the hearing, Howell didn’t seem to fully buy the extent of Lavin’s influence over her daughter.
“I know you have suggested you were essentially manipulated by your mother, but from looking at these videos, it doesn’t appear that you are anything but happy to be there with your mother,” Howell said. “So it’s really hard to reconcile the blaming the mother with what I’m seeing on the videos. And you were an adult during these four different confrontations you witnessed that day. You did nothing to disassociate yourself from your mother.”
“This ‘Blame the Cops’ Excuse Is No Excuse at All.”
However, Howell said that unlike the government, she ultimately believed that Lavin was more culpable than Krzywicki.
“I also understand that people usually look up to their mothers,” Howell said. “People usually think their parents have their best interests at heart, parents define for their children—certainly at the outset—what’s right and what’s wrong.”
Howell addressed Krzywicki’s post-riot Facebook missive that prosecutors cited as an aggravating factor that warranted incarceration, calling the post “fighting words.”
“[T]his is history. [W]e do not go burning down your city and stealing from your business. [W]e come for the government officials that are running our country. [W]e go straight to the source. [C]hange needs to happen. [T]hat is our house and you work for us[,]” Krzywicki’s Facebook post said.
Howell also took a moment during the Lavin’s sentencing hearing to address what she described as “confusion” around an important legal principle.
The defendant’s actions were unlawful no matter what she perceived the police to be doing. Federal case law makes it absolutely clear that police inaction does not somehow make unlawful conduct legal. That is not how our laws work. In this case, the police were clearly so outnumbered that they couldn’t effectively control this crowd, and opted not to use lethal force to effectuate that control or to maintain control. And the interactions—and I count about four interactions with the police this defendant had both outside the Capitol and when she went inside—no reasonable person, after seeing those interactions with the police, could reasonably believe at all that what she was doing was lawful and that she somehow had lawful authority from police to enter and remain inside the Capitol building for 30 minutes.
“To the extent she is using the police’s actions to justify her behavior,” Howell added, “this ‘blame the cops’ excuse is no excuse at all.”
Although Howell didn’t refer to any specific case, her comments fall after the recent acquittal of Matthew Martin following a bench trial before Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee. In that case, McFadden found Martin’s belief that he had permission to enter the building was “plausible” and that he “reasonably believed” that police officers essentially let him into the building.
[Images via FBI.]
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