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‘The decision will not have tremendous significance’: Why SCOTUS’ Jan. 6 ruling will only impact a handful of rioters

The Supreme Court’s decision to narrow how Jan. 6 defendants may be charged with “obstruction of an official proceeding” will likely only impact a small number of convicted rioters.

“The decision will not have tremendous significance in the January 6 cases, including that of former president Trump, because in almost all cases there are other charges that have a felony status alongside the obstruction charge,” said William Banks, a professor at Syracuse University College of Law.

Though no defendant was solely charged with obstruction of an official proceeding, there are 27 people who pleaded guilty only to the obstruction charge.

On Friday, the majority of the Supreme Court justices agreed the government needs to establish that a defendant attempted to or “impaired the availability or integrity” of a record, document, object or thing used in an official proceeding to charge someone with obstruction of an official proceeding.

They argued that the criminal charge was intended to be used in white-collar crime cases and, without specificities, could be used broadly just to give prosecutions the ability to seek 20-year maximum sentences.

Among the more than 1,400 rioters charged with various crimes for their participation on Jan. 6, approximately 340 were also charged with the obstruction count in addition to other criminal charges, including Donald Trump.

Within that group, approximately 128 are serving sentences or awaiting trial on charges, including the obstruction count. These people could be resentenced under the obstruction charge but it would not affect sentencing based on other charges.

It is ultimately only 27 defendants who are currently serving sentences solely on the obstruction charge that may see meaningful

Read more on independent.co.uk