Published on: Monday, April 10, 2023

Jan. 6 rioters challenge their indictment for violating 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2), which makes it a crime to "corruptly . . . obstruct[], influence[], or impede[] any official proceeding." District court: Agreed. Indictment dismissed because 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(1) is all about destroying evidence, so (c)(2) can't extend to hitting Capitol police officers. D.C. Circuit: Yes, it can. Concurrence: It can, but only if we adopt a narrow interpretation of "corruptly"; otherwise, the law is breathtakingly broad. Dissent: "The conduct alleged here violates many criminal statutes, but section 1512(c) is not among them." This statute should be read to only apply to evidence tampering.

The cases are U.S. v. Fischer, No. 22-3038; U.S. v. Lang, No. 22-3039; and U.S. v. Miller, No. 22-3041 (D.C. Cir. Apr. 7, 2023).