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Saturday, July 20, 2024

BREAKING: SCOTUS Overturns Weaponized Obstruction Law in Major Win for J6ers

'The Government’s theory would also criminalize a broad swath of prosaic conduct, exposing activists and lobbyist to decades in prison...'

(Ken Silva, Headline USA) The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned the “obstruction of an official proceeding” charge that the Justice Department wielded against hundreds of Jan. 6 protestors, ruling that the DOJ’s interpretation of the law would criminalize peaceful protest and other democratic activism.

The law in question was passed by Congress in the wake of the 2001 Enron scandal. The law was designed to punish business executives for altering financial documents. But in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol Hill uprising, the DOJ used the statute to target protestors who interrupted the proceedings.

SCOTUS put an end to the DOJ’s dubious charge once and for all in its Friday decision, though it’s still unclear how the decision will affect the sentences of J6ers.

“The Government’s theory would also criminalize a broad swath of prosaic conduct, exposing activists and lobbyist to decades in prison,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts for the 6-3 majority. Justices Amy Comey Barret, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan were the three to dissent.

“As the Solicitor General acknowledged at oral argument, under the Government’s interpretation, a peaceful protester could conceivably be charged under §1512(c)(2) and face a 20-year sentence. And the Government would likewise have no apparent obstacle to prosecuting under (c)(2) any lobbying activity that ‘influences’ an official proceeding and is undertaken ‘corruptly,’” Roberts added later in his decision.

The obstruction charge, which carries up to 20 years behind bars, was among the most widely used felony charges brought in the massive federal prosecution following the Jan. 6, 2021, protest—when a throng of Trump supporters entered the U.S. Capitol to petition the Joint Session of Congress to redress their grievances over the heavily disputed election.

At least 152 people have been convicted at trial or pleaded guilty to obstructing an official proceeding, and at least 108 of them have been sentenced, according to an Associated Press review of court records.

A lower court judge had dismissed the charge against Joseph Fischer, a former Pennsylvania police officer, and two other defendants, ruling it didn’t cover their conduct. The justices agreed to hear the appeal filed by lawyers for Fischer, who faced a seven-count indictment for his actions on Jan. 6, including the obstruction charge.

The other defendants are Edward Jacob Lang, of New York’s Hudson Valley, and Garret Miller, who has since pleaded guilty to other charges and was sentenced to 38 months in prison. Miller, who’s from the Dallas area, could still face prosecution on the obstruction charge.

Other defendants, including Trump, are separately challenging the use of the charge.

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

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