The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Wednesday ruled that a member of those far-right Proud Boys militia band accused of having chemical spray on police during the Capitol riot will stay in jail while he awaits his courtroom.
A three-judge panel denied Christopher Worrell’s emergency motion to reconsider a month’s district court judgment. Although it appears the court doesn’t see precedential value in the judgment (view: Circuit Rule 36, unpublished opinions), it’s a very clear signal that the country’s second-most strong court isn’t likely to be lenient in circumstances of Jan. 6 defendants that are accused of undermining police officials.
According to the charging documents, Worrell went to D.C. with a tactical vest with a canister of gel-based pepper spray trimmed to the front. Video footage from that day also seemed to show him spraying the chemical compound at police officers attempting to stymie the insurrection.
In his crisis appeal motion, Worrell argued that the chemical compound wasn’t a”dangerous weapon,” and were he to be discharged he wouldn’t present a direct threat to the neighborhood.
But the court ruled the Worrell’s lawyer”did not adequately preserve his challenge” to the lower court’s finding that the pepper spray gel dropped within the definition of a dangerous weapon under the Bail Reform Act.
The court drew a distinction between its first judgment on pretrial detention for accused Capitol rioters and the situation at Worrell’s case.
The Circuit Court in March gave so-called”Zip Tie Guy” Eric Munchel–observed from the Senate room carrying strategic restraints–his mom Lisa Eisenhart an opportunity for pre-trial release in a judgment reiterating a long recognized principle, writing,”In our society, liberty is the norm, and detention prior to trial is an exclusion.”
Wednesday’s per curiam decision celebrated Munchel’s case from Worrell’s, reasoning that the latter failed to contradict the lower court’s conclusion that he was reckless.
“In contrast to the defendants from Munchel, since the district court found, appellant’really attacked police officers’ with pepper spray coating. And appellant has not demonstrated that this finding was clearly erroneous,” the court wrote. “The district court’s dangerousness determination is further buttressed by the risks against other people –such as potential witnesses–which appellant indicated to the FBI, as well as his membership alleged and in coordination with all the Proud Boys, a number of whose members are indicted for conspiring to assault Congress.”
In addition, Worrell on Tuesday asked the district court judge to pass his trial outside of Washington, D.C., asserting that”destructive” media coverage of this insurrection and”community prejudice” inside the country’s capital would unconstitutionally prevent him from receiving a fair trial.
“A trial at Washington D.C. for Mr. Worrell would be jurors who voted almost unanimously against Donald Trump, who have been barraged with propaganda on a’white nationalist’ assault, that are told they were victims of an’insurrection,’ who were placed under curfew and secured down as a result, and who have been placed under seemingly endless military grip due to hazard posed by’Domestic Violent Extremists,'” the longshot motion said. “The unavoidable community prejudice, and particularized prejudice against Mr. Worrell, leave the venire so heavily prejudiced against him that Mr. Worrell cannot get a fair and impartial trial at Washington D.C.”
Read the entire Circuit Court judgment under.
[picture via court documents]
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