Case of January 6 – Why so slowly? – AMAC
More than a year has passed since January 6, 2021. Narratives left and right continue to be debated, blame the actors, political points made – and surely this will continue. Hundreds of Americans are caught up in the process, and their cases seem everywhere, barely resolved as usual.
Most Americans understand that in the aftermath of the 2020 election, shaped by COVID restrictions and intersecting political shifts, state vs. federal election issues, Supreme Court appeals, two impeachments, collusion hysteria with the Russia, the Americans were raw.
Throughout 2020, protests against race, bordering on ideological warfare — Marxist influences and socialist rhetoric against freer expression, free markets, and the defense of broader liberty — have turned violent. Then, in the wave of post-election disappointment, confusion and popular distress, the DC protest emerged – and a subset of that group ended up, however you describe it, committing crimes at the Capitol.
The issue behind the issue – a year later – is how individuals, in a society based on due process, are treated. This question — based on a review of hundreds of case histories tracked and reported by the Department of Justice — is an open question. Weird is perhaps the best way to describe the events.
For one thing, the data is subject to Justice case tracking by federal prosecutors and then released for public scrutiny, on a case-by-case basis. Some jurisdictions file data faster than others. Some cases are more complex than others. That said, the basic questions seem obvious – and worth asking again.
The key questions are about fairness, constitutional rights and how we treat each other regardless of politics. The key questions are not political, but judicial – whether the rule of law is upheld or otherwise encroached upon by the shadow cast by the politics of 2020 and 2021.
What do we know? A detailed examination of hundreds of cases – individual arrests – related to the events on Capitol Hill on January 6, 2021, suggests simple realities.
First, over 725 arrests were reported and publicly discussed in various ways. The charges range from “unlawful parade”, “violent entry”, “obstruction of official process” and “civil disturbance” to “threatening an officer”, “threats to interstate commerce”, “destruction of federal property” and “assault “. on the officers, from “the use of a dangerous weapon” to “physical violence”. To see, Capitol Violation Case.
Second, according to public reports, about a tenth of those arrested in 2021 and 2022 went through the sentencing process, “while the rest await trial.” Sentencing judges alternated between deference and leniency and drew attention to the political nature of the riots. See, for example, What happened to the January 6 insurgents arrested in the year after the Capitol riot.
Third, private reports suggest – and the official litany of court rulings confirm – the cases run the gamut, with some moving quickly, others very slowly – more than a few inexplicably caught in shackles. . The unasked – and unanswered – question: Why such a disparity? Why the slowness? Is politics at work within the prosecution system? Is business dragging on for political reasons?
Fourth, a case-by-case review implies that similar charges may be treated disparately. For example, in mid-February, about 21 cases show that the party was arrested months ago, but still detained. The expression “the accused remains engaged” appears in these cases.
These cases, many of which involve allegations of “physical violence” by a rioter, include individuals arrested in July, August, September, October and November 2021.
Many cases seem unclear – the decision ending in an arrest, nothing more. Some include statements of accusation, impeachment, plea of not guilty, no decision. Some include sentences.
Overall, the majority is unresolved; some include “held without bail”, although some defendants are free on their own recognizance, one “under high-intensity supervision” (indefinite), one in the long list “dismissed”.
Friends, relatives, constitutional lawyers and the public are concerned about these cases, each one being the life of an American. They all have constitutional rights.
The strange part, for many observers, is not what is known but left unknown. The problem is a justice system that could be slowed down because of politics, with very few daily reports of these cases.
If a single American – against whom Chargers are offered – does not receive proper treatment, something is wrong. The contrast is how quickly the 2020 riot cases, some violent, have been resolved.
The obvious question — with the 2020 cases as a backdrop — is why the Jan. 6 cases are dragging on, when the 2020 cases also involved violent behavior, some against federal agents and property.
The hovering – unspoken – answer is that the January 6 cases are somehow fundamentally different, that the federal property involved was the US Capitol, that the implied reason for the riot was to violently contest an election and the legal process of certification.
The facts stated are, in general, true. The rioters had political motivations. This was also true in 2020. Yet the heart and intent of each rioter is known only to the individual. A broad brush painting implies that all rioters aim to be violent. That may not be true.
Even here, criminal behavior is prosecuted only by law – not by politics. These people all have time-honoured constitutional rights. We should – a year later – no longer talk about politics but about law.
People think what they think. Problems at work are now legal – all legal. A detailed examination of these cases is simply disturbing. The impression left is that these cases, despite the similarity of the charges to one another, despite the passage of time, roughly similar predicates of facts and the precedent for rapid resolution of the riot cases of 2020 – are evolving slowly, in some cases imperceptibly, seemingly not at all.
The fundamental question is not “was the riot of January 6 political?” It’s easier. It is legal. “Why aren’t these cases moving forward, collectively and individually, faster?” This is a question everyone should be asking now.
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