DOJ Racks Up 90% Failure Rate In Inauguration Protest Prosecutions, Dismisses Final Defendants

from the win-some,-lose-a-whole-lot-more dept

The DOJ, after flailing wildly for most of the last 18 months, has dismissed the remaining defendants in its disastrous inauguration day protest prosecutions.

The US attorney's office in Washington, DC, announced Friday that it is dismissing charges against the remaining defendants charged in connection with anti-Trump demonstrations on Inauguration Day.

Police arrested 234 people on Jan. 20, 2017. Twenty-one people pleaded guilty. The final dismissal notice on Friday came after several trials in which prosecutors were unable to secure any convictions — defendants were either acquitted or jurors failed to reach a verdict.

The government still managed to land 21 convictions, even though its statement suggests it feels this isn't nearly enough, what with "$100,000 in damage to public and private property" occurring during the protests. It certainly isn't much considering the DOJ's original (human) dragnet held more than 200 arrestees.

But that wasn't the only dragnet the DOJ deployed. On its way to dismissing charges against 90% of the defendants, the DOJ also:

This is how it ends for the DOJ, which has largely lost its bids to install a chilling effect via over-broad "rioting" prosecutions. While it's true property was damaged during the protests, rounding up a couple hundred protesters is the opposite of targeted prosecution. If the DOJ hadn't been shutdown in its attempt to amass personal information on more than a million website visitors and Facebook members, the number of defendants would have been even bigger. The eventual dismissals would also have skyrocketed, so the government probably should be happy it walked away with anything at all.

Filed Under: 1st amendment, disrupt j20, doj, free speech, inauguration, j20, protests


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  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
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    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jul 2018 @ 7:19am

    At last and at least Techdirt admits was actual property damage.

    Should the DOJ not make some effort to prosecute that? That's the only alternative barbarian-friendly Techdirt has to offer.

    Prosecutions of actions in riot are ALWAYS difficult to pin on persons. Sometimes different laws apply. In the past (and likely future, way you kids keep going crazy), shoot-to-kill orders have been legal. Civil society MUST stop rioting at some point. -- You should look up the "Riot Act" in English law, if you want to see how seriously rioting is dealt with.

    Anyhoo, I'm NOT dismayed at results except by Techdirt's ongoing glee that property was damaged by barbarians and at least some got away with it. Techdirt always sides with those breaking the laws of civil society.

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