BENCHSLAP: Defendant Capitol Riot’s Judge Dropkicks Request for Luxury Vacation in Mexico
Safe to say Chief Justice Beryl Howell was unimpressed with the Emergency Motion to Travel filed this morning by Capitol Riot defendant Jason Owens.
Owens, who traveled from Texas to DC with his 21-year-old son and raped the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021, didn’t let a multi-count federal indictment slow him down. In fact, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals’ sales rep is doing better than ever, pushing enough drugs to earn a spot on the “Presidents Club” trip to Cabo San Lucas.
It is unclear whether Chief Justice Howell would have granted the request to spend five nights in Mexico at a luxury resort, even if it had not been done less than two weeks before the proposed trip, after the tickets have already been purchased and styled. inasmuch as “Emergency Motion”, original emphasis. It’s also unclear why Owens’ attorney, a Texas attorney, admitted pro hac vice to practice in the district, has not brought the matter to the court’s attention since April 22, when his client first asked him to “let me know how you would like to proceed to obtain the permission of the court to attend this meeting”.
It is possible that mistakes were made.
Either way, it looks like Owens won’t be able to make the trip, as Howell responded hours later with that scathing minute. reported by Zoe Tillman of BuzzFeed.
Pardon the long block quote, but the full-throated judicial rage on display cannot be appreciated with mere excerpts:
On April 21, 2021, the accused made his first appearance before a magistrate of this Court following his arrest on charges relating to his alleged criminal conduct on January 6, 2021, including the serious felony charges of assaulting, resisting or obstructing an officer of the Metropolitan Police Department and obstructing law enforcement during a civil disturbance.
Exactly one year later, on April 21, 2022, the defendant registered, as the apparent “winner” of the “2021 President’s Club” recognition offered by his employer, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, for him and his wife to attend a five-night getaway to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, providing business-critical data such as his t-shirt and shoe sizes (“Mens L” and “Mens 10 1/2”), his favorite color ( “Blue”), willingness to receive alcoholic beverages (“Yes”), and special dietary request (“Vegan, but not too crazy strict”). To see Def.’s Mot., Ex. A, Email from “Web Registrations” to Jason Owens (April 21, 2022).
The next day, apparently fully aware that to witness this mess he would need a dispensation from this Court due to his bail conditions, the accused asked his retainer “how do you want to go about getting permission of the court to attend this meeting,” Def.’s Mot., Ex. A, Email from Jason Owens to Jim Darnell (April 22, 2022), apparently assuming that this Court’s approach to travel not overseas by defendants facing federal felony charges would, like the defendant’s adherence to veganism, be “not too crazy strict.”More than a month later, on May 23, 2022, the defendant filed the instant “emergency motion to travel” (emphasis in original), to attend “a corporate meeting” and/or “a work-related conference,” now less than two weeks away with flights already booked, Def.’s Mot . to 1.
Public reports describe the “President’s Club” as “a prestigious award for top sales [Mallinckrodt] representatives who came with free trips to destinations like Hawaii and Europe,” Meryl Kornfield et al., Inside the opioid maker’s ‘pivot’ sales machine, Washington Post (May 10, 2022), https://wapo.st/3MGfKEB. Years past promised “a grand voyage dedicated to celebrating your accomplishments”, including “a week of fun and relaxation”, five-star accommodations and “spa treatments, golf and water activities such as snorkeling, paddle boarding and outrigger canoes”. identifier. (reproducing a document by Mallinckrodt, “FY13 President’s Club in Maui, Hawaii”). While the Court does not mind the accused’s apparent business success while on bail, his international travel to reap the rewards of such success will have to wait until he is no longer charged with a crime following a domestic trip. misguided in January 2021.
Disturbing reference to the calendar: Check. Scary Quotes: Check. Reciting embarrassing personal details in a way to catch reporters’ attention: Check. Barely concealed reference to the lawyer’s failure to respect the court by filing a timely motion: Check. Clerk of the judge who knows how to work Google: Check. Language clickable enough that it could even break through the avalanche of bad publicity that Mallinckrodt has suffered this month: Check.
June in Texas: CHECK CHECK CHECK.
United States vs. Owens [Docket via Court Listener]
Dye Liz lives in Baltimore where she writes about law and politics.