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This changes EVERYTHING’: US Supreme Court hands down groundbreaking ruling on January 6th prosecutions

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Friday that Joseph Fischer, a former Pennsylvania police officer, and others prosecuted for participating in the January 6th Capitol incident cannot be charged under Section 1512(c)(2) of the US code for obstructing an official proceeding....For More CONTINUE THE FULL READING▶▶

The case could set a vital precedent for the hundreds of cases proceeding against both the non-violent protestors caught amidst the incident and violent rioters who brawled with police or committed minor vandalism.

As reported by The Post Millennial, in the case of Fischer v. United States, the court ruled in favor of Fischer, with Chief Justice Roberts penning the 6-3 majority opinion, joined by Justices Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Jackson. Justices Barrett, Sotomayor and Kagan were the dissenting.

Chief Justice Roberts pointed out the overbroad nature of the government’s application of Section 1512(c)(2), comically stating that under its theory, the DOJ could prosecute every activist and lobbyist in Washington and imprison them for 20 years.

The law as written 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,” with the second subsection adding, “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.”

Justice Roberts explained, “On the Government’s theory, Section 1512(c) consists of a granular subsection (c)(1) focused on obstructive acts that impair evidence and an overarching subsection (c)(2) that reaches all other obstruction. Even setting surplusage aside, that novel interpretation would criminalize a broad swath of prosaic conduct, exposing activists and lobbyists alike to decades in prison.

“As the Solicitor General acknowledged at oral argument, under the Government’s interpretation, a peaceful protester could conceivably be charged under §1512(c)(2) and face a 20-year sentence. Tr. of Oral Arg. 51–52. And the Government would likewise have no apparent obstacle to prosecuting under (c)(2) any lobbying activity that ‘influences’ an official proceeding and is undertaken ‘corruptly.’ Those peculiar results ‘underscore[] the implausibility of the Government’s interpretation.’”

He continued, “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.”

Under this ruling, the third count against Fisher for obstructing a government proceeding is therefore void.

As noted by The Post Millennial, this precedent could apply to every January 6th defendant charged under Section 1512(c)(2), including former President Donald J. Trump. The former president’s indictment 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).”

As observed by Brittany Sheehan writing for Redstate, “The impending SCOTUS ruling potentially affects hundreds of individuals facing the use of this charge, carrying a maximum sentence of 20 years, per the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington. The law figures in two of the federal charges against Trump in his election interference case, and more than 350 people linked to the events of Jan. 6 at the Capitol have been prosecuted under it.

If the Supreme Court sides with Fischer and says the statute does not cover his alleged conduct, Trump is almost certain to contend that it does not apply in his case, either.”

America First Legal Executive Director Gene Hamilton praised the ruling in a statement released Friday, which read, “The Biden Department of Justice weaponized an arcane, limited criminal statute enacted in the wake of the Enron scandal to engage upon an unprecedented campaign of bureaucratic thuggery against its political opponents.

“By twisting a narrowly-written law Congress created, the Biden DOJ aimed to imprison and punish American citizens for offenses that would have otherwise been treated as significantly less severe offenses. The Supreme Court issued the right decision today and we hope that further corrective actions occur in the many cases implicated by this decision.“

About the author

Bunady

JOLOWO BUNALAYEFA PIUS is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for BUNADY NEWSLITE GLOBAL ENTERPRISE (Bunady.com). He started his Blogging/Journalism career at God's Own Wireless Company 2012. He's a graduate of Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko Ondo State, with a major in History And International Studies. You can contact him for press events, advertisement promotions on Email: contact.bunady@gmail.com

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