Proud Boys chief from Volusia Joseph Biggs to stay jailed
A Volusia County Proud Boys leader will remain locked up after a federal appeals court upheld his detention while he awaits trial on charges related to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Joseph R. Biggs, 37, whose residence is in unincorporated Volusia County near Ormond Beach, was being held at the Seminole County Jail where he has been incarcerated without bond since turning himself in on April 22.
One of the filings by Biggs’ attorney notes that Biggs has been threatened while at the Seminole County Jail.
“On May 21, the Florida jail housing him had to relocate him within the facility for his own safety due to threats of violence against Biggs by a group of prisoners,” the document states.
Proud Boys leaders held
U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered that Biggs and another Proud Boys leader, Ethan “Rufio Panman” Nordean of Auburn, Washington, be jailed after federal prosecutors filed motions saying that the men were too dangerous to be allowed to remain free because they were leaders and organizers of the Proud Boys.
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Biggs’ attorney, John Daniel Hull, appealed Kelly’s decision, which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld in a ruling issued Friday. The unanimous ruling was issued by a three-judge panel of Robert Wilkins, Cornelia Pillard and Neomi Rao.
The appeals court also upheld Nordean’s pre-trial detention. Nordean is represented by another attorney.
The court also found that Biggs and Nordean had not shown that Kelly had erred in ordering them detained.
The appellate judges also found that Biggs and Nordean’s attorneys had not shown that Kelly had “failed to consider conditions of release that could reasonably assure the safety of the community” or that he “failed to hold the government to its burden of proof.”
The appeal court ruling also stated that if the attorneys for Biggs and Nordean had any new information that they had obtained after Kelly’s April 20th ruling that they believed warranted the release of Biggs and Nordean, thenthey should go back and present that to Kelly.
Hull said on Friday that he would try again to gain his client’s release.
“Absolutely,” Hull said. “We expect to ask Judge Kelly to reconsider his April 20th detention order and we expect to do that pretty soon.”
‘Danger to any person or the community’
In that order, Kelly wrote “That the court finds that the nature and seriousness of the danger to any person or the community that would be posed by Biggs’s release weighs in favor of detention.”
Kelly ordered that Biggs be detained because of “the allegations of political violence against him for the events of January 6, his role as a leader and organizer in a network that frequently creates events with large numbers of people, his planning experience and skills, his history of concealing communications and activities from law enforcement including his alleged lie to the FBI, and his lack of regret or remorse for the events of January 6,” according to the written order.
The judge said during the hearing he saw no way that authorities could adequately monitor Biggs to ensure the safety of the community. The judge also said there was no way to ensure that an associate of Biggs, who was an organizer for the Proud Boys, would not bring a smartphone to him so he could use the Internet
The Proud Boys are a nationalist organization that describes itself as a “pro-Western fraternal organization for men who refuse to apologize for creating the modern world; aka Western Chauvinists,” according to a federal criminal complaint.
The group also strongly supported President Donald Trump. In recent years, the group has increasingly confronted protesters on the left, including antifa, in places like Portland, Oregon, sometimes leading to street fights.
The Proud Boys, along with the Oath Keepers, are among the groups being investigated by the federal government following the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. Graydon Young, an Oath Keeper from Sarasota County, pleaded guilty recently to charges related to the riot.