Tues 2/16: Charge ALL the Capitol criminals!

Action #1: Write a comment to the Department of Justice

According to an article in the Hill, some officials are thinking of letting the “nonviolent insurrectionists” who invaded our Capitol walk with NO consequences. Tell the DOJ that ALL of them entered our Capitol with the the intent to interfere with the lawful certification of Electoral College votes and should be charged with the appropriate federal crime – and there are several to choose from.  

Link to DOJ comment page here. Select “Messages to the Attorney General.(The tricky bit is to keep it to 2000 characters or less.) Here’s our post. We’ve put all the laws affecting crimes at the Capitol and some additional resources you can use to create your post at the bottom. Mix it up. It doesn’t need to be long.

I’m writing to request that every insurrectionist who entered our capitol unlawfully on Jan. 6 be charged with a crime. Roughly 800 of them pushed into our Capitol and committed a variety of crimes, from vandalism to murder. Now we read that some officials have argued that those known only to have committed unlawful entry, without proof of violent, threatening or destructive behavior – should not be charged. 

I disagree. Every one of them was there to terrorize legislators and their staff, and like lynch mobs of old, only a few need to do actual violence. They went inside our “People’s House” with the express intent to stop a lawful government process – the certifying of Electoral College votes. This behavior not only meets the definition of seditious conspiracy, but also violates §5104. Unlawful activities and 18 U.S. Code § 1752 – Restricted building or grounds.

I’m not asking you to imprison every QAnon-addled middle-aged, middle-class rioter who believed themselves on a mission for Trump. But there must be accountability that marks both their psyche and their permanent record. Studies from both the US National Institute of Justice and the Sentencing Project show that punishments need not to be draconian to be effective in deterring repeat offenders. Letting them walk away scot-free, however, will encourage them to try again, along with others interested in violent cosplay at our Capitol. Repeat offenders should be a serious concern, as 40% of the GOP now believe that violence is acceptable to achieve political ends.

Every one who stepped through the door should be charged with §5104- Unlawful activities & 18 U.S. Code § 1752, with the potential punishment of a year in prison. Many would be resolved with a good-sized fine, along with a ban prohibiting gun possession, which is a great deterrent as well. Break the “Big Lie” spell with consequences.

Action #2: Copy your comment to your legislator!

  • Rep. Julia Brownley: email(CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
  • or Rep. Salud Carbajal: email.(CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
  • Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
  • and Senator Padilla: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (310) 231-4494, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 981-9369, SD (619) 239-3884
  • Who is my representative/senator?https://whoismyrepresentative.com

Resource – Crimes committed by the Capitol insurrectionists

Quote in header image by Voltaire

(WaPo) Legal experts say a wide variety of crimes — from vandalism to sedition — occurred, and prosecutors could charge individuals even if they walked away from the incident without being detained. At least 14 police officers were injured in the day’s events, and two explosive devices were recovered. Here’s a list of potential crimes our extremist friends may be facing…

  1. Crimes Against Government Authority
    • Sedition: 18 U.S. Code § 2384 – Seditious conspiracy – This require proving intent to disrupt or even overthrow the government. A sedition conviction carries a maximum prison term of 20 years. “The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit was unmoved by their appeal, writing that “Congress enacted Section 2384 to help the government cope with and fend off urban terrorism.” The seditious conspiracy statute “provides a vehicle for the government to make arrests before a conspiracy ripens into a violent situation.”
    • Insurrection: 18 U.S. Code § 2383 – Rebellion or insurrection – “Whoever incites, sets on foot, assists, or engages in any rebellion or insurrection against the authority of the United States or the laws thereof, or gives aid or comfort thereto, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.
  2. Crimes against Persons
  3. Rioting/bad behavior
    • Civil orders: 18 U.S. Code § 231 – Civil disorders – The government can also choose to seek prison sentences of up to 5 years for those found guilty of engaging in “civil disorder,” by impeding or attempting to impede the actions of law enforcement officers carrying out their official duties.
    • Anti-Riot Act – “18 U.S. Code § 2101 – Riots” makes it a crime with a fine or 5-year imprisonment to cross state lines with the intent to incite a riot — or even just encourage another person to riot through interstate or foreign commerce, including, but not limited to, the mail, telegraph, telephone, radio, or television, with the intent(1) to incite a riot; or
      • (2) to organize, promote, encourage, participate in, or carry on a riot; or
      • (3) to commit any act of violence in furtherance of a riot; or
      • (4) to aid or abet any person in inciting or participating in or carrying on a riot or committing any act of violence in furtherance of a riot;
        • Note: this law is being used to prosecute individuals in the aftermath of the protests following the murder of George Floyd after decades of little to no use of the law. It was originally incorporated into the Civil Rights Act of 1968 as a compromise to law-and-order politicians and pro-segregation Republican congressmen, who wanted an act that could stop riots at their supposed source, the organizers, supporters, and people who travel and share information related to riots to support them.
  4. Crimes Involving Federal Property
    • 40 U.S.C. § 5104: §5104. Unlawful activities– governs unlawful activities on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol. Violations of most of the provisions of Section 5104 are punishable by fines and up to six months in prison. The provision regarding firearms, dangerous weapons, explosives, and incendiary devices, however, carries a higher maximum punishment of up to five years in prison.
      • Act of physical violence
        • (A) an assault or other infliction or threat of infliction of death or bodily harm on an individual; or
        • (B) damage to, or destruction of, real or personal property.
      • Dangerous weapon – Firearms, explosives, and various weapons that can cause injury.
      •  Injuries to Property. – It’s illegal to “step or climb on, remove, or in any way injure any statue, seat, wall, fountain, or other erection or architectural feature, or any tree, shrub, plant, or turf.”
      • Obstruction of Roads – There are restrictions on blocking streets, carrying a firearm or using “loud, threatening, or abusive language” on the grounds with the aim of disrupting the work of Congress.
      • Violent entry and disorderly conduct – The law also prohibits anyone who is not a member of Congress from appearing on the House or Senate floor without express permission. They are also prohibited from
        • (D) utter loud, threatening, or abusive language, or engage in disorderly or disruptive conduct, at any place in the Grounds or in any of the Capitol Buildings with the intent to impede, disrupt, or disturb the orderly conduct of a session of Congress or either House of Congress, or the orderly conduct in that building of a hearing before, or any deliberations of, a committee of Congress or either House of Congress;
        • (E) obstruct, or impede passage through or within, the Grounds or any of the Capitol Buildings;
        • (F) engage in an act of physical violence in the Grounds or any of the Capitol Buildings; or
        • (G) parade, demonstrate, or picket in any of the Capitol Buildings.
    • 18 U.S.C. § 175218 U.S. Code § 1752 – Restricted building or grounds
      • (1) knowingly enters or remains in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do so;
      • (2) knowingly, and with intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, engages in disorderly or disruptive conduct in, or within such proximity to, any restricted building or grounds when, or so that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or disrupts the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions;
      • (3) knowingly, and with the intent to impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions, obstructs or impedes ingress or egress to or from any restricted building or grounds; or [1]
      • (4) knowingly engages in any act of physical violence against any person or property in any restricted building or grounds; [2]
        • (1) Whoever does any of the above shall be punished as provided this title by a fine or imprisonment for not more than 10 years, or both, if—
          • (A) the person, during and in relation to the offense, uses or carries a deadly or dangerous weapon or firearm; or
          • (B) the offense results in significant bodily injury as defined by section 2118(e)(3); and
        • (2) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both, in any other case.
    • 18 U.S.C. § 641: 18 U.S.C. § 641 Theft of Government Property:– makes it a crime to steal “any record, voucher, money, or thing of value of the United States or of any department or agency thereof.” If the property stolen is worth less than $1,000, the statute authorizes fines and a maximum prison term of one year. Offenses involving property of greater value may be punished by fines and up to ten years of imprisonment. Depending on the circumstances, additional federal robbery statutes—prohibiting theft of government property from another person by assault, violence, or putting that person in fear—could also be relevant to conduct that occurred during the unrest at the Capitol. The DOJ has, as of the date of this Sidebar, charged at least one individual under § 641 in connection with the unrest, alleging that he took official materials from the Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
  5. Organized crime

Those who’ve given material support to the insurrectionists can be guilty of section of the following:

  • 18 U.S. Code § 371 – Conspiracy to commit offense or to defraud United States – If two or more persons conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States, or any agency thereof in any manner or for any purpose, and one or more of such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
  • 2339A of title 18, United States Code – which prohibits as material support to terrorism efforts to support a defined set of Federal crimes. Those who have joined in recent violent acts around the United States will be held accountable. This is a harder lift as the defendent must have knowledge that their organization is a designated terrorist organization. 

Additional resources

  • Searchable database of riot participants: Federal prosecutors continue to charge participants in the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, adding to dozens of arrests that took place in Washington D.C. that day. USA Today has created an updating database searchable by name or state.
  • Turn in a D.C. insurrectionist: “The FBI is seeking information that will assist in identifying individuals who are actively instigating violence in Washington, D.C.,” the Bureau said in a statement. “If you have witnessed unlawful violent actions, we urge you to submit any information, photos, or videos that could be relevant at fbi.gov/USCapitolfbi.gov/USCapitol.”

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