WASHINGTON, D.C. (Erie News Now) -- Today, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled 6-3 to limit the scope of a federal obstruction law used by prosecutors against defendants who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. 

At the center of the case is former Pennsylvania police officer, Joseph Fischer who was among hundreds charged for their actions on January 6. 

SCOTUS tossed out a lower court ruling that allowed a broad interpretation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which was enacted to prevent destruction of evidence in white collar crimes. 

“The statute prohibits tampering with records and other kinds of documentary offenses. In another section, the statute also criminalizes people who in any other way interfere or obstruct an official proceeding,” said Michael Dimino, a constitutional law professor at Widener University Commonwealth Law School.

It was a key tool used by prosecutors to charge Joseph Fischer, a former police officer from central Pennsylvania, and over 300 January 6 defendants with obstructing an official proceeding. 

“His riot was another way of obstructing Congress's vote counting, which was an official proceeding. And so it matched up with the literal terms of the statute, and that was the basis of Justice Barrett's dissent,” said Dimino. 

Today’s ruling essentially tosses out that application of the statute because it falls outside the context of financial or white collar crimes. 

“And because this was so totally different, the majority held that it was not covered by that statute,” said Dimino. 

Experts say the decision will result in cases being thrown out, reduced sentences and could even prevent the Department of Justice from bringing charges against future J6 defendants. 

"It depends on what the specific allegations against the individual rioters are. For some of them, some of their cases are going to be thrown out,” said Dimino, who added that more proceedings at the lower courts are likely, despite today’s SCOTUS ruling. 

“It's not over even for Mr. Fischer, there's going to be more proceedings. The question there is going to be, how exactly did each individual defendant interfere with or obstruct Congress's vote counting,” said Dimino. 

Former President Donald Trump is facing four charges that stem from January 6, two of which could be impacted by the ruling. 

“Two of them relate to this statute and are in some amount of jeopardy. The other two were not affected at all,” said Dimino.

Dimino says it's unclear how exactly the ruling will effect the two charges related to this statute because part of the allegations against the former President involve the creation of alternative slates of electors.

"Jack Smith, the prosecutor in that case, has said that even under the majority's interpretation of this statute that Trump's behavior is still enough like those documentary crimes, the evidence tampering, that it should still go forward. But it's clear that there would have to be a determination by the lower court as to what, if any, effect there is from today's decision on the Trump prosecution,” said Dimino. 

The Supreme Court’s term will end next week. Several other high-profile cases, including former President Trump’s presidential immunity case, are set for a ruling as early as Monday.