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. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 9 Jul 2018 @ 6:06pm

    Re: Of course this becomes an article on Techdirt

    As if we didn't write about President Obama's attacks on free speech? We did. This site is not for or against any President. We are in favor of the 1st Amendment.

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