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Federal Appeals Court Rules Some Jan. 6 Protesters Received ‘Improper’ Sentences

via 13News Now
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A federal appeals court vacated the sentence of January 6th defendant Larry Brock, finding the lower court improperly applied a sentencing enhancement.

Brock had entered the Capitol building during the protest and was convicted of obstructing Congress’s certification of the electoral votes.

“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,’” D.C. Circuit Judge Patricia A. Millett wrote.

However, the appeals court ruled that “interference with the legislative process of certifying electoral votes” does not constitute interfering with the administration of justice to warrant a sentencing enhancement.

While Brock’s conviction was upheld, his sentence was overturned and the case remanded for resentencing without the enhancement.

“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),” Judge Millet wrote.

“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,’” he added.

“When he arrived, Brock ascended the Upper West Terrace and entered the building through the door to the Senate Wing. After exiting, he attempted to open a set of secured doors marked ‘U.S. Senate’ with an unidentified set of keys,” the U.S. attorney’s office wrote.

“Brock ultimately reached the Senate floor, where he spent approximately eight minutes walking around and looking at paperwork on desks. During this time, Brock told others not to sit in the Vice President’s chair or to be disrespectful, explaining that the rioters could not afford to ‘lose the IO war,’” the filing added.

“On his way out, he deescalated an altercation between another rioter and Capitol Police officers and guided the rioter out of the Capitol. In total, Brock spent approximately 38 minutes inside the building,” the attorney’s office said.

The ruling could impact other January 6th defendants who received longer sentences under the same contested enhancement.

The appeals court decision narrows the scope of what qualifies as interference with justice in such cases related to protest activities at the Capitol.

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