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United States Capitol Building


John Della Rocca Jan. 25, 2021

As of Inauguration Day, the fallout from the Capitol riot on January 6 continues to shake the nation. A still-growing list of nearly 100 people arrested by January 20 included nine individuals from Pennsylvania.

Federal authorities, including the FBI and Capitol Police, are still investigating and bringing charges, with the dragnet having snared rioters from 32 states and the District of Columbia, with 85 men and 11 women already facing charges.

If you’re in Philadelphia, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Bucks County, or even in New Jersey, and you’ve been charged with a crime related to the Capitol riot, don’t place your fate in the hands of a court-appointed public defender. Call me, Attorney John Della Rocca, to stand with you and develop a solid legal strategy based on my 24 years of experience in criminal defense.

What Happened on January 6th, 2021

While the Senate was set to tally all of the electoral college votes from the November 3r, 2020 Presidential Election, President Trump held a rally for his supporters to march on the Capitol and protest irregularities in the voting process that he claimed stole the election from him.

Some of those assembled for the rally, however, had evidently already plotted in advance to do more than protest. Some had coordinated their tactics using Facebook and other forms of social media. Members of groups like the Oath Keepers (vowing to protect the U.S. against “enemies foreign and domestic”), ANTIFA, Proud Boys, white nationalists, and other anti-government types spearheaded a mob effort to storm the Senate chamber and disrupt proceedings.

Violence ensued as Capitol Police seemed unprepared. Property damage resulted as windows were broken and doors smashed. At the end of the afternoon of rioting, five people lay dead, one a police officer. it was a truly tragic day.

The Nature of The Arrests That Followed

Charges from the afternoon of protest, rioting, and mob violence range from simple curfew violations, theft, unlawful entering/trespass, and obstruction of justice to more serious conspiracy and weapons possession. Investigations are ongoing, with the FBI said to be examining 100,000 pieces of digital information.

Just a day before the inauguration, three members of the Oath Keepers from Ohio and Virginia were charged with conspiracy in the attack on the Capitol. They face three other specific charges: entering a restricted building or grounds, violent entry or disorderly conduct, and obstruction of an official proceeding.

Understanding Federal Crimes

Both the states and federal government have similar statutes regarding these crimes. Federal punishments may be harsher for some crimes, or state penalties may be harsher — and vice versa. In some cases, a defendant can face charges on both state and federal levels.

Federal jurisdiction usually takes over when crimes are committed across state borders, such as drug trafficking, mail fraud, and commercial fraud. Aggravating factors can also elevate a crime to the federal level, including aggravated assault, battery, identity theft, sexual abuse, and different forms of fraud.

Crimes against the government, or those taking place on federal property, become the sole province of federal authorities. What took place on January 6, since it involves both the government and federal property, naturally falls under federal jurisdiction. The Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI are therefore taking the lead.

What Happens Next — State vs. Federal Procedures

State cases are filed by prosecutors or district attorneys, while federal charges are initiated by United States Attorneys. Federal cases take place solely in U.S. District Courts, whereas state courts have a variety of names. Additionally, not all states require a grand jury to bring charges, but on the federal level, a felony goes before a grand jury unless the defendant waives the right to grand jury indictment.

The table below lists the normal steps in the federal criminal process, though the number of steps may vary depending on the charges:

  • Investigation

  • Charging

  • Initial Hearing/Arraignment

  • Discovery

  • Plea Bargaining

  • Preliminary Hearing

  • Pre-Trial Motions

  • Trial

  • Post-Trial Motions

  • Sentencing

  • Appeal

In the case of the Capitol riot, we’re still at the investigation and charging levels. As the DOJ has advised, the whole process could take months or years.

Hire an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

I began my practice with the goal of helping those in need, especially in criminal defense proceedings. Everyone has constitutional rights that need to be protected and preserved regardless of one’s race, income, background, or religion.

Having an experienced criminal defense attorney on your side can often mean the difference between conviction and acquittal. If you’ve been charged with a crime as a result of the Capitol riot, you deserve the best defense available. When you contact me at The Law Offices of John Della Rocca, you won’t be shuffled between assistants and fellow attorneys. I will be your sole representative who will work with you personally to develop your best possible defense.

If you’re in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, or nearby counties, or even in New Jersey, contact me today for an initial consultation.