EVER WONDER WHAT THE PENALTY IS FOR HOPING THE WHITE HOUSE FENCE?
The White House in Washington, D.C. is a universal symbol of American Democracy and its image is famous, especially from the north side on Pennsylvania Avenue. This location is the closest to the White House you can get without permission and at least two people have jumped over that fence in the last two years.
In 2014 Omar Jose Gonzalez of Texas, a decorated Iraqi war veteran, jumped the fence and ran into the White House armed with a knife. He was prosecuted in federal court with entering a restricted ground without permission while carrying a dangerous weapon which is a 10 year federal offense. He was also convicted of assaulting the secret service officer he knocked over on his way to the front door.
In June of 2014 he was sentenced to serve 17 months in federal prison (he was just released on December 15, 2015).
On Thanksgiving of this year, while I was only a few blocks away, Joseph Caputo of Connecticut scaled the North Lawn Fence of “The People’s House”. Joseph stopped immediately in his tracks when the secret service swarmed. He plead guilty four days later to entering restricted grounds without permission or trespassing. Because he was not armed with a weapon, the offense is a misdemeanor with relatively low sentencing guidelines. Because the trespass occurred at the White House (or if it was at theVice President’s official residence) there is a four point increase in the base offense level which means his guideline range will be no more than six months prison because he has no prior criminal record.
The Thanksgiving day White House fence jumper may get no time at all. I am certainly not encouraging anyone to do it. That would really suck to be known for doing something like that. It would be the embarrassment of a lifetime, and maybe that of your family. We will find out on January 12, 2016.