Jan. 6 Arrests Continue Brisk Pace in 2024, Nearing 1,400 Mark

Jan. 6 Arrests Continue Brisk Pace in 2024, Nearing 1,400 Mark
Metropolitan Police use high-velocity pepper spray against protesters on the West Plaza of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)

The number of people arrested for alleged Jan. 6 crimes at the U.S. Capitol is nearing 1,400 as the rate of arrests showed a sharp increase in the first quarter compared to 2023 and 2022, a report shows.

The U.S. Department of Justice reported that as of the close of business on April 5, 1,387 people have been arrested since the breach and violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

In the first three months of the year, the 122 arrests logged in 2024 vastly outpaced the 70 arrests in the same period of 2023 and the 50 arrests in the first quarter of 2022, DOJ records show.

The FBI arrested 367 people on Jan. 6 charges since April 6, 2023, and 612 people since the same date in 2022.

Exactly 1,300 people have been charged with entering and remaining in a restricted building or grounds; a misdemeanor crime. Of those, 122 of the charges involved a deadly or dangerous weapon.

At least 353 people were charged with corruptly obstructing an official proceeding—the most commonly charged Jan. 6 felony—a controversial charge being challenged before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Of arrests to date, 36 percent were for assaulting, resisting or impeding a law enforcement officers or employees. More than one-quarter of those arrests involved a deadly or dangerous weapon, the report said.

70 Percent Misdemeanors

Some 791 people have pleaded guilty to Jan. 6 charges, 69 percent of which were misdemeanors and 31 percent felonies, DOJ reported. Some 12 percent of the guilty pleas were for assault on a law enforcement officer.

Nearly 860 people have had their criminal cases adjudicated, with 61 percent sentenced to some period of incarceration and 20 percent assigned to home detention, the report said.

Arrests and prosecution of Jan. 6 cases took a pause during part of 2023, followed by an uptick that continued into 2024.

The DOJ prosecution of Jan. 6 defendants will face serious tests during the remainder of 2024.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on April 16 on a challenge to the controversial use of corporate fraud statutes to prosecute defendants for allegedly obstructing the joint session of Congress that gathered on Jan. 6, 2021, for the largely ceremonial counting of Electoral College votes.

The High Court agreed in December 2023 to take up the challenge from Jan. 6 defendant Joseph Wayne Fischer, 57, of Jonestown, Pennsylvania—one of 353 people charged with corruptly obstructing Congress on Jan. 6. A decision is expected by late June.

NTD Photo
Police try to hold back protesters on the West Plaza of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

Many defense attorneys believe the Supreme Court will strike down the DOJ’s novel use of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act to prosecute defendants for the hours-long delay of a joint session of Congress due to violence at the Capitol. The statute behind the charge was put in place to prevent the kind of evidence tampering seen in the Enron and Arthur Andersen scandals.

Another Jan. 6 case recently reached the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which ruled that for the purposes of federal sentencing enhancements, the joint session of Congress does not qualify as “administration of justice.” The sentencing enhancers in some cases had resulted in vastly longer prison sentences.

A number of other potential constitutional challenges could be in the works among the nearly 900 completed Jan. 6 cases, defense attorneys say.

A likely challenge will address U.S. District Court judges’ refusal to date to grant a change of venue in even a single Jan. 6 case. Defendants have argued that heavy pretrial publicity and the District of Columbia’s almost monolithic Democrat jury pool make it nearly impossible for Jan. 6 defendants to get a fair trial.

Another common objection lodged by defense teams is the alleged withholding of exculpatory evidence by federal prosecutors. The 1963 Supreme Court case Brady v. Maryland established that withholding of evidence that is material to guilt or punishment is a violation of a defendant’s right to due process.

Defense attorneys have complained for more than three years about the DOJ’s “global discovery” database that contains millions of documents, photographs, and video clips.

The system can make it nearly impossible to find exculpatory evidence that prosecutors are supposed to provide to defendants in the first place, they say.

One attorney called the federal evidence database a “tsunami of garbage.”

From The Epoch Times

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