New Court Ruling Could Have Huge Implications for Hundreds of J6 Defendants’ Cases

by J Pelkey
0 comment

Justice for the J6 political prisoners might finally come.

A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. has ruled that numerous individuals convicted in connection with the January 6 protests received unnecessarily lengthy prison sentences due to misuse of a statute related to “interference with the administration of justice.”

On Friday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit determined that Larry Brock, a retired Air Force colonel sentenced to two years in federal prison for participating in a peaceful protest inside a building, was wrongly sentenced. The court contested the inclusion of charges related to “interference with the administration of justice.”

Circuit Judge Millett, authoring the court’s opinion, stated that the offense of interference with Congress’ certification of the 2021 presidential election does not warrant a sentence enhancement.

Newsletter Signup

“Brock challenges both the district court’s interpretation of Section 1512(c)(2)’s elements and the sufficiency of the evidence to support that conviction. He also challenges the district court’s application of the three-level sentencing enhancement for interfering with the ‘administration of justice,’” the opinion reads.

NBC News reports:

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court on Friday tossed out a portion of a Jan. 6 defendant’s sentence that could affect more than a hundred other cases related to the 2021 attack on the Capitol.

The ruling by a three-judge panel in Washington, D.C., looked at a lower court’s “enhanced” sentencing of a defendant over his “substantial interference with the administration of justice” on the day Congress was certifying Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump. The appeals court ruled that “‘administration of justice’ does not encompass Congress’s role in the electoral certification process.”

The ruling potentially opens the door to the resentencing of Jan. 6 defendants who were hit with similar sentences as Larry Brock, who appealed his case to the Washington court. The panel upheld Brock’s overall conviction.

“We must apply the Guideline as written, and Brock’s interference with one stage of the electoral college vote-counting process — while no doubt endangering our democratic processes and temporarily derailing Congress’s constitutional work — did not interfere with the ‘administration of justice,’” said the ruling, filed by Judge Patricia A. Millett.

Brock had been convicted of six charges, including “corruptly obstructing Congress’s certification of the electoral count.” Former President Donald Trump also faces a charge alleging that he obstructed an official proceeding. He has pleaded not guilty.

More than 100 defendants in Jan. 6 cases have had the enhancement applied to their cases, said Patricia Hartman, a spokesperson for the D.C. U.S. attorney’s office.

Consequently, Special Counsel Jack Smith faces the prospect of witnessing numerous January 6 cases unraveling due to prosecutorial misuse of the “obstruction of an official proceeding” charge, which coincidentally is one of the charges brought against former President Donald Trump.

More from The Politics Brief:

A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. has decided that hundreds of January 6 offenders were sentenced to excessive jail terms based on abuse of a statute regarding “the interference with the administration of justice.”

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled on Friday that defendant Larry Brock, a retired Air Force colonel sentenced to two years in federal prison for peacefully demonstrating in a building, was wrongfully sentenced.

According to Circuit Judge Millett, who wrote the court’s ruling, alleged interference with Congress’ certification of the presidential election in 2021 does not qualify for a sentence increase. Thus, the court affirmed Brock’s conviction but disagreed with his sentence.

“Regarding Brock’s sentence, we hold that the ‘administration of justice’ enhancement does not apply to interference with the legislative process of certifying electoral votes,” Judge Millett concluded.

“For the foregoing reasons, we affirm Brock’s conviction under 18 U.S.C § 1512(c)(2), but we vacate Brock’s sentence for his Section 1512(c)(2) conviction and remand to the district
37 court for resentencing without the application of Section 2J1.2(b)(2)’s sentencing enhancement,” the court ordered.

The massive court decision might have an impact on hundreds of January 6 defendants who were charged with the Biden DOJ’s “obstruction of an official proceeding” crime, which is based on a dubious legal theory derived from the Enron corruption crisis. Dozens of January 6 offenders were sentenced to severe federal prison sentences as a result of the felony, even though they would have been charged with misdemeanors.

The Supreme Court is also considering the legitimacy of the Biden DOJ’s use of the “obstruction of an official proceeding” law.

Attorney William Shipley provided extensive legal analysis of the impact of this ruling.

“HUGE decision out of DC Circuit this morning saying the proceedings before Congress on Jan. 6 did not involve the ‘administration of justice’ as that phrase is used in the Sentencing Guidelines,” Shipley, who also posted about it on his Substack entitled Shipwreckedcrew’s Port-O-Call, commented on X.

“This will be moot if the SCOTUS throws out the 1512 count altogether in the Fischer (case),” Shipley added. “But this has been a MASSIVE point of conflict between defense counsel and the DOJ/Judges in sentencing J6 defendants on 1512 counts.”

“That was the ‘go to’ felony for DOJ early on, and the reason for that is the Govt was asking for — and getting ’11’ levels of enhancements,” he continued. “This is real ‘inside baseball’ stuff, but here is how it worked. The ‘Base Offense’ level for 1512 is ’14’.”

Special Counsel Jack Smith is in jeopardy of watching hundreds of J6 cases get blown up due to prosecutorial abuse of the “obstruction of an official proceeding” charge, which just-so-happens to be one of the charges facing former President Donald Trump.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Breaking Digest is focused on reporting breaking news that matters to the American people.

Edtior's Picks

Latest Articles