What Criminal Law Did the US Capitol Attackers Violate?

What Crimes Did the Capitol Attackers Commit?

There are many misdemeanor and felony charges that prosecutors can charge those entering the Capitol with, such as criminal trespass, assault, etc. There is also speculation that since the assault resulted in deaths, that many could also be charged under the felony murder rule that says that anyone committing a felony which results in a loss of life is guilty of “felony murder.” However, I want to highlight one law that seems particularly appropriate, easy to determine and prosecute and which every person who entered the Capitol is guilty of.

That law is, Title 18 US Code Section 1752, which makes it a federal felony to enter a “restricted building.”

But, that does not mean the Capitol itself, it means a building where a person under the protection of the US Secret Service is located. So, the fact the Vice-President Pence was in the Capitol under the protection of his Secret Service detail when people entered the building without permission is a most serious federal crime. And since, both weapons were present and serious bodily injury resulted, the penalty for such a violation is up to ten years in federal prison. This would also be very easy to prove, all you need is the evidence of the unlawful presence and actions (lots of videos) and simple evidence that they had no permission.

Every person who entered through those broken windows and the battered down doors, can be sent to prison for up to ten years. Even under lesser included charges, it is a year in prison.

The full text of the Federal criminal statute follows:
Section 1752 of title 18, United States Code.

“Sec. 1752. Restricted building or grounds

(a) Whoever–
“(1) knowingly enters or remains in any restricted building
or grounds without lawful authority to do so;
“(2) knowingly, and with intent to impede or disrupt the
orderly conduct of Government business or official functions,
engages in disorderly or disruptive conduct in, or within such
proximity to, any restricted building or grounds when, or so
that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or disrupts the orderly
conduct of Government business or official functions;
“(3) knowingly, and with the intent to impede or disrupt
the orderly conduct of Government business or official
functions, obstructs or impedes ingress or egress to or from any
restricted building or grounds; or
“(4) knowingly engages in any act of physical violence
against any person or property in any restricted building or
grounds;or attempts or conspires to do so,
shall be punished as provided in subsection (b).

(b) The punishment for a violation of subsection (a) is–
“(1) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more
than 10 years, or both, if–
“(A) the person, during and in relation to the
offense, uses or carries a deadly or dangerous weapon or
firearm; or
“(B) the offense results in significant bodily
injury as defined by section 2118(e)(3); and
“(2) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more
than one year, or both, in any other case.

“(c) <> In this section–
“(1) the term ` Section 1752 of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as
follows:
“Sec. 1752. Restricted building or grounds

“(a) Whoever–
“(1) knowingly enters or remains in any restricted building
or grounds without lawful authority to do so;
“(2) knowingly, and with intent to impede or disrupt the
orderly conduct of Government business or official functions,
engages in disorderly or disruptive conduct in, or within such
proximity to, any restricted building or grounds when, or so
that, such conduct, in fact, impedes or disrupts the orderly
conduct of Government business or official functions;
“(3) knowingly, and with the intent to impede or disrupt
the orderly conduct of Government business or official
functions, obstructs or impedes ingress or egress to or from any
restricted building or grounds; or
“(4) knowingly engages in any act of physical violence
against any person or property in any restricted building or
grounds;

or attempts or conspires to do so, shall be punished as provided in
subsection (b).
“(b) The punishment for a violation of subsection (a) is–
“(1) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more
than 10 years, or both, if–
“(A) the person, during and in relation to the
offense, uses or carries a deadly or dangerous weapon or
firearm; or
“(B) the offense results in significant bodily
injury as defined by section 2118(e)(3); and
“(2) a fine under this title or imprisonment for not more
than one year, or both, in any other case.

“(c) <> In this section–

[[Page 126 STAT. 264]]

“(1) the term `restricted buildings or grounds’ means any
posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area–
“(A) of the White House or its grounds, or the Vice
President’s official residence or its grounds;
“(B) of a building or grounds where the President
or other person protected by the Secret Service is or
will be temporarily visiting; or
“(C) of a building or grounds so restricted in
conjunction with an event designated as a special event
of national significance; and
“(2) the term `other person protected by the Secret
Service’ means any person whom the United States Secret Service
is authorized to protect under section 3056 of this title or by
Presidential memorandum, when such person has not declined such
protection.”.
grounds’ means any
posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area–
“(A) of the White House or its grounds, or the Vice
President’s official residence or its grounds;
“(B) of a building or grounds where the President
or other person protected by the Secret Service is or
will be temporarily visiting; or
“(C) of a building or grounds so restricted in
conjunction with an event designated as a special event
of national significance; and
“(2) the term `other person protected by the Secret
Service’ means any person whom the United States Secret Service
is authorized to protect under section 3056 of this title or by
Presidential memorandum, when such person has not declined such
protection.”.

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