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Law Library

Current Issues: Sedition

Overview of laws related to attempts to destabilize or overthrow the U.S. government

Following the breach of the U.S. Capital on Jan. 5, 2021, many commentators have begun discussing legal terms such as sedition, insurrection, and terrorism in describing events that took place and the charges individuals who participated may face. The following materials provide additional information and insight on the legal aspects of these concepts. 

Sedition

Insurrection

Domestic Terrorism

Criminal Prosecutions

Criminal prosecutions in the District of Columbia are complicated. Misdemeanors are prosecuted by D.C. officials but federal attorneys prosecute felonies, like the probable murder of a Capitol Police officer. However, when assistant U.S. district attorneys decide which crimes to file against alleged offenders, they can choose to charge either federal crimes (from the U.S. Code) or felonies as outlined in the D.C. Code.

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