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

Even the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Wednesday ruled that a part of the far-right Proud Boys militia group accused of using chemical spray police during the Capitol riot will stay in prison while he awaits his court date.
A three-judge panel denied Christopher Worrell’s emergency motion to reconsider a month’s district court judgment. Although it appears the court does not see precedential value in the judgment (see: Circuit Rule 36, unpublished opinions), it’s a very clear sign that the country’s second-most strong court isn’t going to be more lenient in cases of Jan. 6 defendants who are accused of undermining police officials.
Worrell, who resides and was detained in Florida, was charged in March with a litany of federal crimes involving”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 into the front. Video footage from that day also appeared to reveal him spraying the compound compound at police officers trying to stymie the insurrection.
In his crisis appeal motion, Worrell claimed that the chemical substance was not a”dangerous weapon,” and were he to be published he would not pose a direct threat to the community.
However, the court ruled that Worrell’s lawyer”did not adequately preserve his challenge” into the lower court’s finding that the pepper spray gel dropped within the meaning of a dangerous weapon under the Bail Reform Act.
The court also drew a distinction between its first judgment on pretrial detention for accused Capitol rioters and also the situation at Worrell’s case.
The Circuit Court in March gave so-called”Zip Tie Guy” Eric Munchel–seen in the Senate room carrying strategic restraints–his mom Lisa Eisenhart a chance for pre-trial release in a judgment reiterating a long recognized principle, composing,”In our society, liberty is the norm, and detention before trial is an exception.”
Wednesday’s per curiam decision celebrated Munchel’s situation from Worrell’s, justification the latter failed to contradict the lower court’s determination that he was dangerous.
“In contrast to the defendants in Munchel, since the district court found, appellant’actually attacked police officers’ using pepper spray coating. And appellant has not proven that this finding was clearly erroneous,” the court wrote. “The district court’s dangerousness determination is further buttressed by the threats against others–including potential witnesses–that appellant indicated to the FBI, as well as his membership in and alleged coordination using the Proud Boys, a number of whose members are imprisoned for conspiring to attack Congress.”
Additionally, Worrell on Tuesday requested the district court judge to transfer his trial outside Washington, D.C., asserting”detrimental” press coverage of the insurrection and”community prejudice” within the country’s capital would unconstitutionally prevent him from getting a fair trial.
“A trial at Washington D.C. for Mr. Worrell would be by jurors who voted almost unanimously against Donald Trump, who’ve been barraged with propaganda on a’white nationalist’ attack, who are always told they had been victims of an’insurrection,’ who had been put under curfew and secured down as a consequence, and who’ve been put under seemingly endless military hold because of danger posed by’National Geographic Extremists,'” the longshot motion stated. “The inevitable community prejudice, and particularized prejudice against Mr. Worrell, render the venire so greatly prejudiced against him that Mr. Worrell can’t receive a fair and unbiased trial at Washington D.C.”
Read the entire Circuit Court judgment below.

[image via court documents]
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