Courthouse Steps Decision: Fischer v. United States

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Fischer v. United States concerned whether to prove a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2) — a provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act — the government must establish that the defendant impaired the availability or integrity for use in an official proceeding of records, documents, objects, or other things used in an official proceeding, or attempted to do so.

Petitioners in the case were Joseph Fischer, Edward Lang, and Garret Miller, who were involved with the events of January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol. Based on their actions that day they were charged with a variety of charges including one count of Obstruction of an Official Proceeding under 18 U.S.C. §1512(c)(2). Appellees did not contest the other charges but moved to dismiss the charge mentioned above, arguing §1512 (c) is ambiguous concerning (c)(2) and (c)(1). The district court agreed. Upon appeal, the D.C. Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s decision. The Supreme Court granted cert and heard oral arguments on April 16, 2024. A 6-3 Court, with Chief Justice Roberts writing for the majority, released its opinion on June 28, 2024. Justice Jackson filed a concurring opinion and Justice Barrett filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justices Sotomayor and Kagan joined.

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  • Theodore Cooperstein, Appellate Counsel, Theodore Cooperstein PLLC


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