Appellate court overturns DC J6 judge's order to require 'monitoring and inspection' of defendant's computer after he spread 'disinformation'

"The district court plainly erred in imposing the computer-monitoring condition without considering whether it was ‘reasonably related’ to the relevant sentencing factors."


The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has overturned a surveillance order issued by DC District Judge Reggie Walton, which aimed to monitor the computer activity of a January 6 defendant for the alleged spreading of "misinformation."

The case centered around Daniel Goodwyn, who had pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge related to his involvement in the January 6 events and was sentenced to 60 days in jail.

Judge Walton claimed that Goodwyn, after appearing on a segment of Tucker Carlson Tonight, was spreading “disinformation.” He then ordered that Goodwyn’s computer be monitored by a probation agent during his supervised release to inspect if Goodwyn was spreading alleged disinformation regarding the events on January 6.

"To ensure compliance with the computer monitoring condition, you must allow the probation officer to conduct initial and periodic unannounced searches of any computers subject to computer monitoring," Goodwyn's special conditions for supervision stated. "These searches shall be conducted to determine whether the computer contains any prohibited data prior to installation of the monitoring software, whether the monitoring software is functioning effectively after its installation, and whether there have been attempts to circumvent the monitoring software after its installation."

Judge Walton further accused Goodwyn of spreading both "misinformation" and disinformation," and used this as justification for the computer monitoring requirement in the terms of his supervised release, per the Epoch Times.

However, the Appellate court found Judge Walton's order inappropriate, stating that it lacked a valid rationale.

“The district court plainly erred in imposing the computer-monitoring condition without considering whether it was ‘reasonably related’ to the relevant sentencing factors and involved ‘no greater deprivation of liberty than is reasonably necessary’ to achieve the purposes behind the sentencing,” the appellate judges stated, according to legal analyst Julie Kelly.

Judge Walton has faced criticism for his public comments and actions, including participating in a CNN interview where he criticized former President Donald Trump over remarks concerning the daughter of the judge in Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg's case alleged Trump falsified business records in bookkeeping records concerning payments made to his lawyer. 

Walton accused Trump of threatening to the judge's family, stating, "I think it is an attack on the rule of law when judges are threatened and particularly when their family is threatened, and it's something that's wrong and should not happen."

His decision to appear on CNN and criticize the former President was seen by many as a violation of the Code of Conduct for judges, which states that “a judge should not make public comments on the merits of a matter pending or impending in any court," according to attorney Jonathan Turley.

Judge Walton's previous remarks about Trump, where he referred to him as a "charlatan" and claimed that he only cares about power, not democracy, has further fueled concerns about bias in his handling of January 6 related cases.

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