“I can’t allow someone to sit in prison for this long without access to material,” Judge Randolph Moss said at a hearing, calling the delay “utterly unacceptable” and “not consistent with due process.”
The defendant, Jorden Mink, was indicted on 10 federal charges, including theft and destruction of government property. He pleaded not guilty and has been in jail since his arrest in January. Mink is accused of using a baseball bat to smash Capitol windows and then passing furniture through those windows to the pro-Trump crowd outside.
Neither the Justice Department nor Mink’s defense lawyer has been able to provide him with the evidence that the government has gathered in his case. Defendants have constitutional due process rights to examine all the evidence, and prosecutors have a legal obligation to turn over these “discovery” materials in a timely fashion.
Mink’s case is the latest example of Capitol riot defendants having difficulty accessing evidence against them. For months, prosecutors have pointed to the historic size of the insurrection investigation as the reason for the delays. Recently, some judges have criticized both the Justice Department and the DC jail delays, and have pressed prosecutors to expedite the process.
Prosecutors said at Thursday’s hearing that they had given the evidence to the DC jail in May and they didn’t know why Mink hasn’t been able to access any of the documents. Prosecutors also said that they have offered Mink a plea deal, but without access to any evidence he cannot decide whether he will accept it or proceed with a trial.
The judge ordered that prosecutors coordinate with the jail to grant Mink access to the documents by the end of the day, and suggested that if Mink did not get access soon he would reconsider Mink’s detention.