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TX Man Admits Guilt in Capitol Riot Even Though U.S. Mishandled Case

Lucas Denney, a Texas man accused of assaulting a police officer with a pole during last year's Capitol riot, pleaded guilty on Thursday even though prosecutors indicated they were willing to agree to have that charge dismissed due to mishandling of the case. The unusual move by Lucas Denney, 44, came after an even more unusual admission by prosecutors that they violated federal law by failing to arrange a court appearance promptly for Denney last month after he was transferred to a jail near Washington, D.C. from a federal court near his home in Texas, reports Politico. A federal magistrate judge in Washington apologized to Denney after saying he had effectively become “lost” in the judicial system. U.S. Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui chastised prosecutors for bringing Jan. 6 cases at a faster pace than they were prepared to handle.

Denney’s attorneys urged Denney to offer the guilty plea even though he lacks any deal with prosecutors regarding his sentence and has no protection against facing other charges related to the takeover of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021. About 200 out of the nearly 800 people charged in connection with the storming of the Capitol have pleaded guilty thus far as part of plea bargains under which the government agrees to dismiss some charges and often agrees to limit how much prison time it will seek. Prosecutors initially contended that Denney swung a metal pole at a D.C. police officer during the riot, but they removed the word “metal” from a court filing on Thursday. “It was a plastic pole. It was a PVC tube,” the defendant told the judge. "The purpose was to block the pepper spray, but ... he did get hit.”

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