BREAKING: Supreme Court rules in favor of J6ers, DOJ incorrectly charged hundreds of defendants

Some 350 people who entered the Capitol building on J6 were charged with an obstruction of an official proceeding under 1512(c)(2).


The Supreme Court ruled in favor of a January 6 protester who entered the Capitol building and was charged with obstructing an official proceeding. Some 350 others who entered the Capitol building that day were also charged under the same law. The case may set a precedent for the various cases against the people who went into the Capitol who were charged under Section 1512(c)(2) of the US code. Chief Justice Roberts delivered the majority opinion.

On Friday, the court ruled in favor of Joseph Fischer, a former police officer from Pennsylvania, saying "To prove a violation of Section 1512(c)(2), the Government must establish that the defendant impaired the availability or integrity for use in an official proceeding of records, documents, objects, or as we earlier explained, other things used in the proceeding, or attempted to do so. See supra, at 9. The judgment of the D. C. Circuit is therefore vacated, and the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion. On remand, the D. C. Circuit may assess the sufficiency of Count Three of Fischer’s indictment in light of our interpretation of Section 1512(c)(2)." 

The significance of the obstructing an official proceeding charge, however, was the charge that Fischer asked to be thrown out by the court. U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols previously dismissed the obstruction charge held against Fischer and had concluded in another J6 case that the obstruction charge only applies to tampering with evidence in court cases as seen in US Code Section 1512(c)(1). The statute was enacted after the Enron scandal to prevent the willful destruction of documents that were part of an official proceeding.

This law states, "Whoever corruptly alters, destroys, mutilates, or conceals a record, document, or other object, or attempts to do so, with the intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding" and then subsection two adds "otherwise obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both." The argument is significant, as an obstruction of an official proceeding charge can bring a sentence of 20 years in prison.  

Amy Howe, of Scotus Blog, said of the ruling "The court holds that to prove a violation of the law, the government must show that the defendant impaired the availability or integrity for use in an official proceeding of records, documents, objects, or other things used in an official proceeding, or attempted to do so."
This ruling means that Count 3, filed by Biden's DOJ in the J6 case against him, is essentially void because the Court held that charges under this law have to go back to the lower court. The indictment against Trump read: "Donald J. Trump did knowingly combine, conspire, confederate, and agree with co-conspirators, known and unknown to the Grand Jury, to corruptly obstruct and impede an official proceeding, that is, the certification of the electoral vote, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1512(c)(2)."

However, the government appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit with Judge Florence Pan ruling that the “meaning of the statute is unambiguous." She added that it “applies to all forms of corrupt obstruction of an official proceeding, other than the conduct that is already covered by” the prior subsection.   

Pan admitted in her ruling, “Outside of the January 6 cases brought in this jurisdiction, there is no precedent for using” the obstruction charge “to prosecute the type of conduct at issue in this case.”  

In the appeals court's decision Judge Gregory Katsas dissented and wrote that the government's interpretation of the law was “both improbably broad and unconstitutional in many of its applications.” Fischer then went to the Supreme Court with a brief, asking the justices to rule on the scope of Section 1512(c). 

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