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 March 11, 2024

Jan. 6 arrests increasing three years after events at Capitol Building

The surge in FBI arrests and the influx of new criminal cases stemming from the January 6, 2023, events have placed significant strain on the resources of District of Columbia federal courts, according to recent reports from the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Over the past two months alone, authorities have arrested and charged 93 individuals, indicating a marked escalation in legal proceedings.

The projections

Projections based on current trends suggest that the number of cases added to the docket in 2024 could surpass the combined total of those in both 2022 and 2023.

As of March 6, a staggering total of 1,358 individuals have been arrested by the FBI and criminally charged by the DOJ for offenses related to the events of January 6.

Jacob Rugh, an associate professor of sociology at Brigham Young University, predicts that arrests could climb to 2,150 by the time the statute of limitations expires in early 2026.

The surge

Former federal prosecutor William Shipley has observed a notable uptick in cases starting in September 2023, suggesting a deliberate strategy behind the surge.

Shipley also noted a significant pause in arrests and prosecutions earlier in 2023, attributed to the strain placed on D.C. federal courts.

The majority of defendants hail from key states such as Florida, Texas, Pennsylvania, California, New York, Ohio, and Virginia, collectively constituting nearly half of all Jan. 6 defendants.

Over 1,200 people

Of the Jan. 6 criminal cases that have been adjudicated, approximately 63% have reached a resolution. Among these cases, roughly 58% of defendants have received jail or prison sentences. The DOJ reports that over 1,200 defendants were charged with entering restricted areas, while more than 350 faced charges of obstructing official proceedings.

Federal prosecutors have achieved a perfect conviction rate for defendants who opted for jury trials, a statistic repeatedly cited in change-of-venue motions.

Despite this success, questions persist regarding the fairness of trials in the District of Columbia, where conviction rates are typically lower than in other federal court districts.

The DOJ has emphasized its unwavering commitment to pursuing and prosecuting individuals involved in the January 6 events, framing the investigation as a top priority executed with unprecedented speed and scale. U.S. Attorney Matthew Graves has characterized the events of January 6 as akin to warfare, vowing to continue prosecuting offenders into 2024 and beyond.

Graves highlighted the severity of the situation, describing January 6 as "likely the largest single-day mass assault of law enforcement officers in our nation’s history." This sentiment underscores the gravity of the charges faced by defendants and the determination of law enforcement officials to uphold justice in the aftermath of the Capitol breach.

Written By:
Dillon Burroughs

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