Hundreds of Jan. 6 defendants’ sentences improperly lengthened: Appeals court

A federal appeals court on Friday ruled that potentially hundreds of defendants charged for their actions at the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot had their sentences improperly lengthened, raising the possibility that many will have to be resentenced.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that Jan. 6 defendants who obstructed Congress‘s efforts to certify the 2020 election had their sentences improperly lengthened by federal judges who determined they had interfered with the “administration of justice.”

A three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit rejected the Justice Department’s argument in an appeal brought by Larry Brock, who was sentenced to two years in prison for obstructing congressional proceedings. U.S. District Judge John Bates, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, had determined Brock’s sentence by including the enhancement for interfering with the administration of justice.

“Brock’s interference with one stage of the electoral college vote-counting process — while no doubt endangering our democratic processes and temporarily derailing Congress’s constitutional work — did not interfere with the ‘administration of justice,’” D.C. Circuit Judge Patricia Millett wrote in a unanimous ruling, joined by Judges Cornelia Pillard and Judith Rogers.

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