January 6 prisoners get rare win in appeals court case

January 6 prisoners get rare win in appeals court case

January 6 prisoners get rare win in appeals court case

After a federal appeals court ruled in favor of a January 6 defendant, which means a reduced sentence, a former U.S. Justice Department attorney says the court got one right.

A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. has ruled that some defendants who were charged in connection with the violent demonstrations at the U.S. Capitol had their sentences improperly increased. In one example, the court agreed that defendant Larry Brock's sentence improperly included charges of "interference with the administration of justice."

The court said the allegation of interfering with Congress' certification of the electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election does not apply to a sentence enhancement.

J. Christian Adams, founder of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, tells AFN the appeals court got it right because sentencing rules must be followed.

“Did somebody obstruct justice? Were they contrite?" Adams says of the sentencing phase. "There's all these factors pro and con for sentencing, and the court ruled that applying the obstruction of justice charge did not apply here.”

Adams, J. Christian (PILF) Adams

Brock was initially arrested and charged with two charges, entering a restricted building and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds. The allegation of "interference" was added later by Department of Justice prosecutors. 

According to DOJ documents, Brock entered the Senate floor on Jan. 6 and remained in the Capitol for approximately 38 minutes. During that time, the DOJ said, he told others not to be "disrespectful" of the Senate surroundings. He also broke up a fight between police and another rioter on his way out. 

Despite a ruling that criticized federal prosecutors, Adams predicts the public will not see the prisoners released despite hopes by some who view the rioters as political prisoners.