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Home / federal judge

Judge nixes charges against white supremacist group members

In a decisive move challenging the even-handedness of federal prosecutors, a federal judge on Wednesday dismissed for a second time charges against members of a Southern California-based white supremacist group.

Members of the Rise Above Movement were indicted on rioting and conspiracy charges under the Anti-Riot Act. During three pro-Trump events in 2017 across California, including Huntington Beach, Berkeley and San Bernardino, violent clashes reportedly transpired between the Rise Above Movement and counter-protesters from the left-wing group Antifa.

At the heart of the case dismissal was the principle of equal protection under the law — an imperative Carney underscored in his 35-page ruling, pointing to selective prosecution against two far-right individuals while their left-wing counterparts were not charged for similar misconduct at the same protests.

Carney’s decision reflects the constitutional bedrock that dictates no matter the speaker or the sentiment, all are entitled to the Constitution’s protection.

“It does not matter who you are or what you say,” Carney wrote. “It does not matter whether you are a member of RAM or Antifa. … All are the same under the Constitution, and all receive its protections.”

Carney’s ruling signaled that while RAM’s conduct might warrant prosecution, this case extended beyond individual deeds to a broader imperative — the safeguarding of sacrosanct civil liberties enjoyed by all citizens. The indictment underscored the alleged recruitment tactics and combat training undertaken by the defendants, which the judge acknowledged while iterating the unconstitutionality of overlooking comparable violent acts from Antifa members.

Despite the government’s position, articulated by the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles, that the defendants displayed a pattern of rehearsed violence and online glorification of that violence in order to court potential recruits, Carney ordered charges be dismissed against Robert Rundo, who authorities had extradited from Romania, and Robert Boman. Rundo is portrayed as a central figure and founder of RAM.

The Anti-Defamation League describes RAM as a group fixated on combating what they perceive as the erosion of a “conservative counterculture” that includes traditional Christian values and putting up a defense against “communist” elements.

In citing Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis’ historical stance — that more speech, not enforced silence, is the answer to combating harmful expression — Carney said the government’s mandate to prosecute must encompass all, irrespective of the offensiveness of one’s speech or creed.

Prosecutors filed a notice of appeal of Carney’s ruling. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Carney’s 2019 ruling dismissing the case.

As Reported by Quicktelecast.com, the Epoch Times, MyNewLA.com and the OC Register

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