Capitol Riot Defendants Have a good time Supreme Courtroom’s Ruling: ‘We Won!’


After the U.S. Supreme Courtroom threw out an obstruction cost in opposition to a former police officer for taking part within the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol, straight throughout the road from the court docket, on Friday morning, different alleged insurrectionists celebrated.

“I should have never been charged with felony Obstruction, and neither should hundreds of other January 6th defendants,” wrote one of many convicted rioters, Alexander Sheppard, in a submit Friday on X (previously Twitter). The Ohio man, who was sentenced to 19 months in federal jail for storming previous police traces into the Capitol, was launched from jail in Might pending the Supreme Courtroom’s resolution in Fischer v. United States.

“For nearly 4 years, the Department of Justice put us through hell for supporting President Trump and taking a stand for Election Integrity,” he wrote. “As one of the 52 defendants where Obstruction was my ONLY felony charge, I feel that a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I will soon be going to resentencing, and I pray that my judge now sees this whole case for what it always has been: a complete and total sham.”

The excessive court docket, in a 6-3 vote, dominated that Joseph Fischer, a former police officer who stormed the Capitol, mustn’t have been charged with obstructing an official continuing over the try to cease Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s 2020 election by counting states’ electoral votes. The bulk resolution stated that the obstruction statute federal prosecutors used to charged Fischer, Part 1512 of U.S. Code Title 18, was supposed just for circumstances involving tampering with bodily proof.

“January 6 was an unprecedented attack on the cornerstone of our system of government — the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next,” U.S. Lawyer Normal Merrick Garland stated in a press release Friday, responding to the Supreme Courtroom’s resolution. “I am disappointed by today’s decision, which limits an important federal statute that the Department has sought to use to ensure that those most responsible for that attack face appropriate consequences.”

Fischer, the petitioner within the Supreme Courtroom case, was in a brighter temper.

“He and his family were ecstatic,” Fischer’s lawyer, Jeff Inexperienced, advised HuffPost on Friday. “This has been a long road for him, but there’s more of that road ahead. This is but one of seven charges, six more pending, and we’ll have to see to that.” Among the many different expenses Fischer faces is one in every of assaulting a police officer.

The Supreme Courtroom resolution may have ramifications for greater than 200 defendants in circumstances associated to the Capitol riot and can seemingly reify right-wing and MAGA narratives in regards to the alleged insurrectionists being “political prisoners.”

In line with an NBC tally, out of 1,400 Capitol riot defendants, the obstruction statute on the heart of the Supreme Courtroom case was used in opposition to 247 individuals. It’s the lone felony cost in opposition to solely 52 of these defendants. Of these, 27 are presently serving sentences.

Different Capitol rioters have been however ebullient. “We won!” stated a submit on an X account related to Richard Barnett, a self-described white nationalist who was photographed placing his ft on former Home Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s desk through the riot. “#SCOTUS in a 6-3 decision overturned the 1512 charge. The first light of justice is finally breaking through the bonds of darkness and evil in D.C.”

Barnett is serving a 54-month jail sentence for his position within the Capitol riot. Of the eight counts in his conviction, one was the obstruction cost shot down by the Supreme Courtroom. (It’s unclear if Barnett tweeted himself Friday, or if somebody exterior of jail tweeted it for him.)

William Pope, a Kansas doctoral pupil and former metropolis council candidate who additionally faces eight expenses associated to the riot, together with one in every of obstruction, tweeted Friday that “for almost four years, Biden’s extreme DOJ has falsely accused me of a 20-year felony based on their egregious, unbounded reading of the law.”

“Many defendants have served time in prison for this charge,” he added. “Today the Supreme Court rightly reprimanded the government for their tyranny.”

“It’s official,” Tim Hale, one other Jan. 6 rioter convicted on the obstruction cost, tweeted. “I just spent 3 years in prison for something that isn’t a crime. #J6 #Fedsurrection.”

Micki Witthoeft (proper), the mom of Ashli Babbitt, who was killed by Capitol Police on Jan. 6, 2021, and Nicole Reffitt, the spouse of convicted rioter Man Reffitt, attend a Sept. 12, 2023, information convention on the U.S. Capitol with members of the Home Freedom.

Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Name, Inc by way of Getty Photographs

Micki Witthoeft, whose daughter Ashli Babbitt was killed by U.S. Capitol Police as she tried to crawl by way of a shattered window into the Speaker’s Foyer close to the Home chamber, was thrilled by the Supreme Courtroom resolution.

“I’m amazed, absolutely amazed,” Witthoeft, who has held common vigils exterior a Washington jail holding a number of Jan. 6 defendants, advised HuffPost. “I’m very happy about it.”

“I just hope that this will affect a lot of them,” she added. “I look forward to seeing a lot of these men out of jail.”

On the debate Thursday evening, former President Donald Trump voiced his assist for these arrested after Jan. 6. “What they’ve done to some people that are so innocent, you ought to be ashamed of yourself,” Trump stated to Biden. “What you have done, how you’ve destroyed the lives of so many people.”

Trump has repeatedly stated he might pardon these convicted in Jan. 6 riot circumstances if he turns into president. Which will but come to cross, however till then, the Supreme Courtroom has provided them some modest reduction.

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