- Larry Brock was sentenced to two years in prison for role in Capitol riot
- But an appeals court Friday ruled his judged erred in adding an ‘enhancement’
- It paves the way for more rioters to appeal against their sentences
A federal court on Friday ordered a new sentence for a retired Air Force officer who took part in the attack on the U.S. Capitol, in a ruling that could see dozens of other convicts have their punishments reduced.
Retired lieutenant colonel Larry Brock, 57, gained notoriety on Jan 6., 2021, when he was pictured wearing combat gear, holding a discarded pair of zip-tie handcuffs on the Senate floor.
He was sentenced last year to two years in prison for obstructing Congress.
An appeal court in Washington upheld the conviction but said that a judge was wrong to extend his sentence with an ‘enhancement’ on the grounds that his conduct resulted in ‘substantial interference with the administration of justice.’
Enhancements can be used by courts to impose more severe punishments.
This image from Senate Television video, shows Larry Brock, right, on the floor of the Senate at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The image formed part of the case against him
Patricia Hartman, a spokesperson for Washington’s U.S. attorney’s office said the same enhancement had been used in more than 100 other Jan. 6 conviction.
As a result, the ruling could pave the way for dozens of appeals for shorter sentences.
However, it was unclear whether Brock received an increased sentence because of the enhancement. Washington judges often say they would have given the same sentence with or without it.
His lawyers, like Donald Trump who faces charges for the day’s events’ argued that Brock was not involved in any violence as the mob attacked the Capitol.
But the panel of appeal judges said that did not matter,
‘Brock participated in a riot that sought to overturn the 2020 presidential election by force, and that he was himself prepared to take violent action to achieve that goal,’ they wrote, referencing his own social media posts.
‘Where a defendant announces his intent to use violence to obstruct a congressional proceeding, comes equipped for violence, and then actually obstructs that proceeding, the evidence supports a finding that he acted with an impermissible purpose or knowledge of the wrongfulness of his actions.’
But they agreed that crimes committed on Jan 6. were not directed at derailing the legal process.
‘Brock’s interference with one stage of the electoral college vote-counting process -while no doubt endangering our democratic processes and temporarily derailing Congress’s constitutional work – did not interfere with the ‘administration of justice,”‘ they concluded.
Brock was part of the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol. But an appeal court on Friday said he should be resentenced after a judge wrongly used an ‘enhancement’ that he engaged in ‘substantial interference with the administration of justice’
Brock is incarcerated in Missouri and is expected to be released in December
The result is that Brock, who is incarcerated in Missouri and is expected to be released in December, will now be resentenced.
Brock’s lawyer estimated that the enhancement increased his sentence by nine months.
However, his sentence was on the low end of the range recommended under federal guidelines of 24 to 30 months. And at times judges in Washington have said the enhancement made no difference to their sentencing.
Brock was wearing a helmet and tactical vest when he joined the mob that attacked the Capitol and went onto the Senate floor only minutes after Vice President Mike Pence, senators and their staff evacuated the chamber.
Brock picked up a discarded pair of zip-tie handcuffs and was photographed in a widely shared photo holding the cuffs on the Senate floor.
His lawyer said in court papers that Brock did not pick up the cuffs to do any harm.