Procedural Error May Delay DePape Case

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A significant judicial error has thrown the federal case against David DePape into disarray.

DePape, who was convicted of trying to kidnap Rep. Nancy Pelosi and assaulting her husband, Paul, was recently sentenced to 30 years in federal prison.

However, U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley admitted she failed to ask DePape if he wanted to address the court before sentencing him. Now, a redo of the sentencing hearing is scheduled for next Tuesday, creating complications that could affect the outcome of this case.

DePape’s lawyers are fighting this new hearing, emphasizing that his state trial for the same attack is about to start. They argue that dragging DePape back into federal court right before his state trial would disrupt his right to a fair trial.

“The Court violated Mr. DePape’s rights when it sentenced him without inviting him to allocute,” DePape’s attorneys stated in a filing on Wednesday. “But it cannot now cure that error by disrupting his state trial and asking Mr. DePape if he has anything to say.”

This procedural failure added a significant complication to what was initially a straightforward case for the federal government. Police body-cam footage captured the assault, and a federal jury needed only one day to convict DePape last year. Prosecutors presented clear evidence, including footage of DePape entering the Pelosi residence and transcripts of him expressing his desire to punish Pelosi and other Democrats.

Despite the clarity of the evidence, DePape’s lawyers have already appealed his federal conviction and sentence to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. They argue that Judge Corley should hold off on any further actions until the appeal is resolved. Federal prosecutors countered that Corley had 14 days from the original sentencing to hold another court session for DePape to address the court if he wished.

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins is overseeing the parallel state case, with a trial expected to begin as early as next month. DePape’s attorneys claim that requiring him to return to federal court during this time would violate his right to a fair trial.

They also argue that if DePape must be resentenced, it should be by a different judge. They contend that Judge Corley, appointed by President Joe Biden, has already expressed “strong views” about the case, which could bias the proceedings.

The U.S. attorney’s office has not commented on the situation, leaving many to wonder how they will handle this significant procedural blunder. It raises serious questions about the competency of those appointed by the current administration.