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New Jan 6 Ruling Could Impact Dozens of Cases

via Washington Post
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A federal appeals court ruled that hundreds of January 6 defendants may have received excessively long prison sentences.

The court vacated Air Force veteran Larry Brock’s two-year sentence, disagreeing that charges of interfering with Congress’ certification of the election should enhance his sentence.

While upholding his conviction, the court said such interference with the legislative process does not warrant an “administration of justice” enhancement.

Circuit Judge Millett, said, “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.’”

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

“Larry Brock participated in the violent January 6th riot at the United States Capitol that forced the evacuation of members of Congress and their staff and prevented Congress’s certification of the 2020 presidential election until the next day. After a bench trial, the court convicted Brock of six crimes, including corruptly obstructing Congress’s certification of the electoral count under 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2),” continued Judge Millett.

Millett said, “At sentencing, the district court applied a three level sentencing enhancement to Brock’s Section 1512(c)(2) conviction on the ground that Brock’s conduct resulted in ‘substantial interference with the administration of justice.’”

As the DOJ’s novel legal theory of charging many January 6 defendants with obstruction of an official proceeding hinges on this enhancement, the ruling could impact hundreds of similar cases that resulted in felony convictions and lengthy sentences despite underlying misdemeanor conduct.

The Supreme Court is also reviewing the validity of using this statute for the January 6 prosecutions.

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