DC 'Tractor Man' Released from Jail: Blakely Applied

The federal judge that sentenced the D.C. 'Tractor Man' to six years in prison last week has signed an order reducing his sentence to 16 months due to the Supreme Court's Blakely decision. He was released from prison today.

Still wearing his navy blue jail uniform, Dwight W. Watson was set free tonight, nearly 16 months after driving his tractor onto the Mall and making a phony bomb threat in a protest that paralyzed parts of the city.... Watson's release came a few hours after a federal appellate court rejected a last-chance effort by the Justice Department to keep him locked up. Federal prosecutors had been scrambling since U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson cut Watson's sentence to 16 months. With credit for good behavior, Watson's time was up.

Prosecutors contended that there was no reason for Jackson to act, arguing that the judge had misinterpreted a Supreme Court ruling issued June 24, a day after Watson's sentencing. Jackson said the decision, handed down in an unrelated case, convinced him that he had unjustly added time to Watson's sentence in a way the Constitution did not allow. Prosecutors wanted Watson to stay in jail while they appealed Jackson's ruling, but the appellate court turned them down.

Congrats to A.J. Kramer, Watson's federal defender.

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