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Feds Admit Mistake In Delay of Jan. 6 Rioter's Court Appearance

Prosecutors in the case of one January 6, 2021, insurrectionist said that while the defendant's rights were violated under the Speedy Trial Act, the charges against him should not be dismissed because of the seriousness of his actions, Politico reports. The delay occurred when Lucas Denney, a resident of Texas who is being tried in Washington, D.C., was awaiting transfer from a jail in Virginia last month. Denney, who is accusing of swinging a metal pole at a police officer during the Capitol insurrection, was arrested in Texas on December 13. A few days later, it was ordered that he remain in custody and be transferred to Washington to face charges. Then, there begin to be strange gaps in his record. He arrived at a jail in Virginia on January 31. His attorney was made aware of his Denney's presence there on February 4. He was not given an initial appearance date until February 25, at which point he was scheduled to appear two weeks later.

Denney's lawyers filed an emergency motion for release on March 2, citing the delay in his initial appearance and the government's failure to obtain an indictment within 30 days of his first court appearance in Texas. Prosecutors maintained that there was nothing intentional or nefarious about their conduct, and that a federal magistrate should not dismiss the charge. During a hearing, Denney's attorney said his client desired to plead guilty before the government would be allowed to obtain a new and more comprehensive indictment. This surprised prosecutors and Judge Randy Moss, as federal defendants rarely plead guilty at an arraignment. Moss cautioned against such an abrupt decision, as a plea might not foreclose more charges being brought against Denney. The single charge he faces can carry a prison term of up to 20 years. Federal sentencing guidelines include aggravation for "uncharged conduct" associated with the subject of a guilty plea. Nearly 800 defendants have been charged in connection with the Capitol riot, which some say has stretched the Department of Justice beyond its limits. Most of these defendants have been released awaiting trial, but a few dozen have been detained pending trial, often when their cases involve assaults on police officers or organizing the riot.


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