The Weekly Vista
Seeking Bigo’s peers
Last week, in the wake of a federal jury in Washington, D.C., convicting him of all charges related to his Jan. 6, 2021, trespass into the U.S. Capitol, Richard “Bigo” Barnett of Gravette reiterated his claims that an injustice was being carried out.
“This is not a jury of my peers,” said Barnett, who along with his attorneys spoke to reporters outside the U.S. District Court where he was tried.
Barnett and his attorneys wanted his case transferred to Arkansas, apparently convinced that there is something about the potential jurors back in his home state that would have gotten him off the hook.
What is it that Barnett and his New York City lawyers think about the people of Arkansas? Are they convinced the state is so filled with rubes that they could somehow talk their way out of what he did in the riots on Capitol Hill following Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally?
Oh, we understand their disingenuous tactic: Claim that the people of Washington, D.C., are just a bunch of liberal-backing Democrats who lack the moral convictions of real Americans and are thus willing to send an innocent man to prison as part of some political persecution.
The folks back home, now they would apply some good ol’ Natural State common sense in the case and let him off scot free, right?
Here’s the thing: Barnett himself has made it clear in testimony and even in a video recording moments after he emerged from the U.S. Capitol that he violated several laws. In the latter instance, he was bragging to sympathetic, like-minded rioters. He probably thought his time in Nancy Pelosi’s office, foot propped up on a desk, would turn him into a hero among the “patriots” Trump helped stir into a frenzy two years ago. And maybe it did, but most Americans — including those here in Arkansas — know how to apply the laws of the nation and believe doing so is part of their responsibility as citizens.
What Barnett seems to believe is he’d have a better chance of a jury nullification in his home state. That is, perhaps a jury here would choose to ignore the law simply because
Let’s not pretend there aren’t a lot of conservative people, in Arkansas and around the country, who were just as disgusted by what happened on Jan. 6 as anyone else. It was an affront to this nation’s values.
Arkansas is a more conservative state than D.C.
Here’s the thing: When crimes are committed, the people who are accused of committing them don’t get to pick where they should be tried. In courtrooms across the country, people go to trial in jurisdictions where the crimes occurred. It would be like some thug assaulting someone in a hate crime in San Francisco because they thought the person was gay, then demanding to move the resulting trial to Wyoming or Montana because they feared San Fran’s reputation as a welcoming city for the LGBTQ community.
It’s forum shopping based on a faulty premise that only jurors the defendant prefers can be fair and objective. Barnett’s attorney suggested the jury returned in two hours with its verdict because its members had made up their minds before the trial even began. That’s one theory; another one might be that there was such an abundance of evidence about what Barnett did it was fundamentally an open-and-shut case.
Let’s not pretend there aren’t a lot of conservative people, in Arkansas and around the country, who were just as disgusted by what happened on Jan. 6 as anyone else. It was an affront to this nation’s values. That Barnett or anyone else would ever try to say they acted out of patriotism is insulting to the people who really care about the ideas this nation was founded upon.