The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Dec. 13 that it will hear the appeal of former North Cornwall Township cop Joseph Fischer. The Lebanon County resident faces multiple criminal charges resulting from the Jan. 6, 2021, violent invasion of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump.
One of the seven charges against Fischer makes it a crime to “corruptly” obstruct, impede, or interfere with an official government proceeding. It carries a maximum 20 year jail sentence. The nation’s highest court will decide if that charge should be dismissed or included in the charges Fischer will face at trial.
Fischer’s appeal does not challenge the remaining six charges against him.
Congress was meeting on Jan. 6, 2021, to certify Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in the 2020 presidential election. Rioting Trump supporters prevented it from performing its duty for about six hours.
Hundreds of other rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 face the same charge, as does former President Trump, so the Supreme Court’s decision is likely to have far-reaching consequences.
The U.S. District Court where Fischer’s prosecution was commenced dismissed the charge, holding that the statute does not apply to assaultive conduct committed in furtherance of an attempt to stop Congress from performing a constitutionally required duty.
Federal prosecutors appealed, and a divided U.S. Court of Appeals reinstated the charge, after which Fischer asked the Supreme Court to review the case.
There is no timetable for the court to decide Fischer’s appeal. Fischer’s trial cannot start before it makes a decision.
Editor’s note: This article was updated to reflect that Fischer’s appeal only challenges one of the seven charges against him.
Questions about this story? Suggestions for a future LebTown article? Reach our newsroom using this contact form and we’ll do our best to get back to you.
Support local journalism.
Already a member? Login here
Free news isn’t cheap. If you value the journalism LebTown provides to the community, then help us make it sustainable by becoming a champion of local news. You can unlock additional coverage for the community by supporting our work with a one-time contribution, or joining as a monthly or annual member. You can cancel anytime.