Defense Attorney on 500 arrested and held
Please keep my name anonymous but feel free to share the rest of this “boots on the ground” report on the show if you wish.
I’m a criminal defense attorney in Northern Virginia and I’m representing a couple of the Capitol protestors, and also in communication with other defense attorneys who have Capitol protest clients. You mentioned the atrocity of these delayed trials, and I wanted to give you some context for how awful it really is.
By statute (18 USC 3161), federal trials must commence within 100 days of arrest (30 days after arrest to indict, and 70 days after indictment to trial). We are WELL past this deadline. Some attorneys with clients who are not detained have agreed to short delays in their clients’ best interest, hoping for a better plea offer. Attorneys with detained clients objected, but the court still gave the government extensions of 30-60 days for them to produce discovery and make plea offers, before even thinking of setting a trial date. And now, trials are set for the end of this year and beginning of 2022.
The government has consistently justified their delay by relying on 1) the massive amount of discovery they have to comb through and produce, which includes people’s Facebook accounts and surveillance video of everybody in the Capitol, 2) trying to figure out internally how they’re going to handle the cases, and 3) the sheer number of the cases. Over 500 people have been arrested so far just for these protest cases. In an average year, the DC Federal Court handles less than 300 cases, so they’ll have nearly triple that amount this year (500 protestors + 300 regular cases).
Here’s an idea, why don’t they choose to NOT prosecute some of these cases?? The government continues to act like their hands are tied by the number of cases, as if they have no power to do anything about it. Which, of course, is false. They could decline to prosecute the lower-level trespassers (I’ve heard them called MAGA tourists), or offer them deferred prosecution agreements (dismissing the case after a period of probation). Yet, we’ve been told that NOBODY is getting offered a DPA, even though DPA’s were offered to rioters in Portland who actually tried to burn down a federal courthouse.
This, of course, stinks to high heaven of political retaliation by the new administration against supporters of the old. Unfortunately, that is not a sufficient basis in the law for getting a case dismissed.
Sorry for the long note, but I’m really passionate about my job, fighting against government overreach and fighting for individual liberty, so this situation really touches a nerve for me!
Also, the clip from 1363 about the lego Capitol, where the reporter says “prosecutors rarely include unimportant info in charging documents” — thats bullshit. They do it all the time.
Thank you for your courage,