DC Appeals Court Makes Big Ruling

On Friday, a federal appeals court panel made a shocking ruling regarding the sentencing of Jan. 6 defendants who were charged with obstructing Congress’ work.

The panel concluded that the sentences handed down by district court judges were improperly lengthened by taking into account the “administration of justice” enhancement.

This decision could have major implications for more than 100 Jan. 6 rioters who have already been convicted and sentenced for their roles in the attack on the Capitol.

The ruling raises the possibility that these defendants could have their sentences recalculated and potentially reduced, which is concerning for many Republicans who believe that the severity of this crime should not be downplayed.

The Justice Department has consistently argued that the session of Congress on Jan. 6, which was meant to count electoral votes and certify the results of the 2020 election, should be considered a “judicial proceeding.”

This would then allow judges to apply the “administration of justice” enhancement, which can increase recommended sentences by over a year.

However, in the case of Larry Brock, a Jan. 6 defendant who was sentenced to two years in prison for obstructing Congress’ proceedings, the court unanimously rejected this argument.

While Brock’s actions were deemed unacceptable and his felony conviction was upheld, the panel ordered the judge to resentence him without the enhancement.

In their ruling, the judges highlighted the distinction between a session of Congress and a traditional “judicial or quasi-judicial investigation.”

They argued that the Electoral College vote-counting process, while important to our democracy, does not fall within the scope of the “administration of justice.”

This decision from the appeals court comes at a crucial time, as the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in April on whether obstruction charges were improperly used against Jan. 6 rioters.

This has implications not only for the dozens of defendants already convicted but for former President Donald Trump as well, who also faces obstruction charges in D.C.