Legal News

Federal Appeals Court Upholds Decision to Maintain Proud Boy Behind Bars Ahead of Trial for Pepper Spraying Police

Christopher Worrell pepper spraying police officers Throughout Jan. 6 Capitol Riot

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Wednesday ruled that a member of their far-right Proud Boys militia band accused of having chemical spray police throughout the Capitol riot will remain in jail while he awaits his court date.
A three-judge panel denied Christopher Worrell’s emergency motion to reconsider last month’s district court ruling. Though it seems the court does not see precedential value in the ruling (see: Circuit Rule 36, unpublished opinions), it’s a clear sign that the nation’s second-most powerful court is not likely to be lenient in circumstances of Jan. 6 defendants that are accused of undermining police officers.
Worrell, that resides and was detained in Florida, was charged in March with a litany of national crimes including”carry[ing] a deadly and dangerous weapon” on limited grounds. According to the charging papers, Worrell moved to D.C. using a tactical vest using a canister of gel-based pepper spray trimmed to the front. Video footage from that day too seemed to reveal him spraying the chemical compound at police officers trying to stymie the insurrection.
In his emergency appeal motion, Worrell contended that the chemical compound wasn’t a”dangerous weapon,” and so were he to be released he wouldn’t present a direct threat to the neighborhood.
However, the court ruled the Worrell’s lawyer”failed to adequately preserve his obstacle” to the lower court’s finding that the pepper spray gel fell within the meaning of a dangerous weapon under the Bail Reform Act.
The court also drew a distinction between its first ruling on pretrial detention for accused Capitol rioters and the circumstances at Worrell’s case.
The Circuit Court in March gave so-called”Zip Tie Guy” Eric Munchel–viewed in the Senate room carrying strategic restraints–along with his mom Lisa Eisenhart a chance for pre-trial launch in a ruling reiterating a long established principle, composing,”In our society, freedom is the norm, and detention prior to trial is an exclusion.”
Wednesday’s per curiam decision distinguished Munchel’s situation from Worrell’s, justification the latter failed to oppose the lower court’s decision that he was dangerous.
“compared to the defendants in Munchel, as the district court here found, appellant’really attacked police officers’ using pepper spray coating. And appellant hasn’t proven that this finding was clearly wrong,” the court wrote. “The district court’s dangerousness conclusion is further buttressed by the threats against others–including possible witnesses–which appellant indicated to the FBI, as well as his membership alleged and in coordination using the Proud Boys, some of whose members have been indicted for conspiring to attack Congress.”
Furthermore, Worrell on Tuesday asked the district court judge to pass his trial outside Washington, D.C., asserting”detrimental” press coverage from the insurrection and”community prejudice” inside the nation’s capital would unconstitutionally prevent him from receiving a reasonable trial.
“An investigation at Washington D.C. to Mr. Worrell are by jurors who voted nearly unanimously against Donald Trump, who have been barraged with propaganda about a’white nationalist’ attack, that are told that they had been victims of an’insurrection,’ who had been placed under curfew and secured down as a result, and who have been placed under seemingly endless military grip because of danger posed by’National Geographic Extremists,”’ that the longshot motion stated. “The unavoidable community prejudice, and particularized prejudice against Mr. Worrell, render the venire so greatly prejudiced against him that Mr. Worrell cannot receive a fair and impartial trial at Washington D.C.”
Read the full Circuit Court ruling under.
Worrell Detention Ruling by Law&Crime on Scribd

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