Appeals Court Rules Some Jan. 6 Rioters Improperly Sentenced over 'Interference'

Some criminal defendants charged in connection with the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021, had their sentences improperly increased, a federal appeals court in Washington, DC, has ruled.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled Friday defendant Larry Rendall Brock’s sentence improperly included charges of “interference with the administration of justice,” AP reports.

A new sentence has now been ordered for the retired Air Force officer who appeared in the U.S. Capitol dressed in combat gear, in a ruling that could impact dozens of other cases stemming from the tumultuous events that day.

According to Circuit Judge Millett, who wrote the court’s opinion, interference with Congress’ certification of the electoral votes in the 2020 presidential election does not apply to a sentence enhancement.

“Brock challenges both the district court’s interpretation of Section 1512(c)(2)’s elements and the sufficiency of the evidence to support that conviction. He also challenges the district court’s application of the three-level sentencing enhancement for interfering with the ‘administration of justice.’”

This image from Senate Television video, contained in the Justice Department's affidavit in support of a criminal complaint and arrest warrant for Larry Rendall Brock, shows Brock, right, on the floor of the Senate at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. A federal appeals court in Washington, on March 1, 2024, has ordered a new sentence for Brock, who stormed the U.S. Capitol dressed in combat gear, in a ruling that could impact dozens of other cases stemming from the Jan. 6, 2021, attack. While a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld Brock's conviction, the court said a judge wrongly applied an enhancement that lengthened the recommended prison sentence range under federal guidelines. (Department of Justice via AP)

This image from Senate Television video shows Larry Rendall Brock on the floor of the Senate at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. A federal appeals court in Washington, on March 1, 2024, has ordered a new sentence for Brock, who stormed the U.S. Capitol dressed in combat gear, in a ruling that could impact dozens of other cases.  (Department of Justice via AP)

The AP report sets out the enhancement — on the grounds that Brock’s conduct resulted in “substantial interference with the administration of justice” — has been applied in more than 100 other Jan. 6 defendants’ cases, said Patricia Hartman, a spokesperson for the Washington’s U.S. attorney’s office.

Other January 6 defendants received longer sentences because of the same charge, which could throw their respective sentences into question.

When asked whether prosecutors will appeal the ruling, Hartman said they are considering their options.

Brock was sentenced last year to two years in prison after being convicted of a felony charge of obstruction of an official proceeding and misdemeanor offenses. He is currently serving his sentence at a federal lockup in Missouri and is expected to be released in December, according to online Bureau of Prisons records.

Brock’s attorney didn’t immediately respond to an email from AP seeking comment on Friday.

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