Ninth Circuit Steps In After California Judge Drops Charges Against Alleged White Supremacist

Image not from story (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Hailey Gomez General Assignment Reporter
Font Size:

The Ninth Circuit of Appeals stepped in Thursday to block a ruling from U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney after he dropped all charges against two alleged white supremacists, according to court filings.

Carney, a federal judge within Orange County, California, dismissed the charges Wednesday against alleged white supremacists Robert Rundo and Robert Boman who were charged in 2018 with conspiracy to violate the Anti-Riot Act, as well as rioting at political rallies in 2017, according to the Los Angeles Times. Within his opinion, the federal judge stated that both men displayed they’d been selectively prosecuted in comparison to “members of Antifa” and other “far-left groups” who had reportedly physically assaulted Trump supporters at rallies, however, were not charged in the same manner. (RELATED: 31 Suspected White Nationalists Booked For Conspiracy To Riot Near Pride Event)

“By many accounts, members of Antifa and related far-left groups engaged in worse conduct and in fact instigated much of the violence that broke out at these otherwise constitutionally protected rallies to silence the protected speech of the supporters of President Trump,” Judge Carney stated in his opinion. “That is constitutionally impermissible…prosecuting only members of the far right and ignoring members of the far left leads to the troubling conclusion that the government believes it is permissible to physically assault and injure Trump supporters to silence speech.”

While Boman was released on bond following the dismissal, disputes in reporting on if Rundo had also been released were up in the air as prosecutors filed an emergency request with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals after the judge had turned down their pleas Wednesday on not releasing Rundo, according to ABC News. Prosecutors argued that Rundo was a flight risk, noting that the alleged white supremacist had fled the U.S. previously in 2019 after Carney had dismissed another case of his based on First Amendment grounds, the outlet reported.

“I don’t believe it’s warranted that Mr. Rundo spend one minute more in custody, so I’m going to release him forthwith,” Carney stated. “I feel very comfortable in the decision I’ve made.”

Both Rundo and Boman are alleged members of a white supremacist group called Rise Above Movement (RAM), which claims to be a “combat-ready, militant group of a new nationalist white supremacy and identity movement,” with Rundo notably an alleged founding member, according to the LA Times. Carney additionally noted within his original opinion that the government couldn’t prosecute RAM members “while ignoring the violence of members of Antifa” and other far-left groups.

“The government cannot prosecute R.A.M. members such as Defendants while ignoring the violence of members of Antifa and related far-left groups because RAM engaged in what the government and many believe is more offensive speech,” Carney wrote.

It is unclear if Rundo is back in custody, however, a U.S. Attorney spokesperson in Los Angeles who had prosecuted the case stated that developments would be advised “as appropriate,” according to the LA Times.