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The January 6th Defendant Circus
There is a distinct picture emerging regarding the criminal prosecutions of the people involved in the storming of the Capitol. For the most part, it has been affirming previous observations I made. Basically, what's becoming clear is that people who are not habituated in interfacing with the criminal justice system are shockingly ignorant of how ruthlessly punishing and destructive it can be. They're approaching this formidable institution with a careless and flippant attitude which only makes sense if you spend your life internalizing the message that "jail is what happens to other people".
The other lessons to be drawn from all this is 1) invariably the folks getting caught are (there is no way to be charitable about this) uniquely dumb, and 2) there appears to be a negative correlation for defense attorneys between competence and "most likely to be retained on a high-profile case".
Criminal defense is my full time job, and reading about some of these cases has been vicariously nerve-wracking. I'll highlight some examples in the form of lessons:
If you are caught on video doing crimes, don't threaten to shoot and kill your children as a way to dissuade them from turning you in to the FBI, because they might turn you in to the FBI.
If you're criming, don't post a Facebook Story of you criming. Further, don't add text to the Facebook Story of you criming "THIS IS ME" with finger emojis pointing at exactly where you are when you are criming.
If you're a lawyer and your daughter is being investigated by the FBI don't...I have no words for what this guy did, but don't do this.
If you're going to TikTok your surrender to federal custody, don't. If you're going to ignore that advice, don't dismiss prison as "free meals" on the off-chance your lawyer wants to argue otherwise.
If you're a criminal defense attorney, try and avoid going on national TV if your best defense for your client throwing a fire extinguisher's at a cop's skull is this.
If you're going to call Members of Congress to threaten them with hanging, don't leave your full name and phone number in the voicemails.
If you're flying on a private jet on your way to livestream yourself doing some criming, try and avoid advertising your realtor business using your full name on the stream, and try to avoid statements like “We are armed and dangerous. This is just the beginning.” and “We’re going to fucking go in here. Life or death, it doesn’t matter. Here we go!”
If you're an elected official named Derrick Evans and you're livestreaming yourself committing a crime, try and avoid recording yourself narrating your name and exactly what you're doing (e.g. "We're in! We're in! Derrick Evans is in the Capitol!").
If you're a popular internet pundit potentially caught on video having committed a crime and also very likely under investigation, try to avoid "joking" to your audience about destroying evidence for the lulz.
If you're going to commit crimes, try to avoid facing additional counts of conspiracy and vicarious liability for what other people do by being filmed with a megaphone giving detailed instructions on how to commit even more crimes. Especially try to avoid saying things like "We should probably coordinate together, if we're going to take this building".
If you're a defense attorney giving a press conference about your client facing criminal charges, try to avoid rattling off the elements of the offense and describing the facts that establish them.
Remember Shut The Fuck Up Friday, to keep it holy.