Connect with us

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

By Pete Williams

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court appeared unlikely Thursday to change its long-standing rule that putting someone on trial more than once for the same crime does not violate the Constitution’s protection against double jeopardy.

That outcome — keeping existing rules in place — would potentially be a blow to Paul Manafort, who faces prison time for violating federal fraud laws. A presidential pardon could keep him out of federal prison, but it would not free him from being prosecuted on similar state charges — unless the Supreme Court changes the rule. But that seemed did not seem possible after Thursday’s oral argument before the justices.

Neither Manafort’s case nor the work of Special Counsel Robert Mueller came up in the courtroom argument.

The Fifth Amendment provides that no person shall be “twice put in jeopardy of life or limb” for the same offense. But for nearly two centuries, the Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that being prosecuted for the same crime once by a state and again in federal court, or the other way around, doesn’t violate the provision because the states and the federal government are “separate sovereigns.”

The lawyer for an Alabama man, Terance Gamble, urged the justices to overturn those earlier decisions. Convicted of robbery in 2008, Gamble was pulled over seven years later for a traffic violation. Police found a handgun in his car, and he was prosecuted under Alabama’s law barring felons from possessing firearms. The local U.S. attorney then charged him with violating a similar federal law. Because of the added federal conviction, Gamble’s prison sentence was extended by nearly three years.

“This is a 170-year-old rule that close to 30 justices have voted for,” said Justice Elena Kagan. “You’re asking us to throw it out because we think we can do better?”

Gamble’s lawyer, Louis Chaiten of Cleveland, said the nation’s founders understood the protection against double jeopardy to ban any second prosecution for the same offense. He said that under English common law, the roots of American law, there was no “separate sovereigns” exception. A person could not be put on trial in England if already tried for the same offense in another country.

But Justice Samuel Alito said changing the rule would block the U.S. government from prosecuting someone who attacked Americans overseas and was given only a light sentence by a foreign court.

“The logic of your position,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh told Chaiten, “is that the U.S. couldn’t prosecute someone like that even if it was important for national security.”

And Justice Stephen Breyer said changing the rule would prevent the federal government from bringing civil rights cases when the states decline to prosecute or do so only half-heartedly.

The Trump administration urged the court to keep the current rule, arguing the state and the federal governments should be able to pursue their own interests without interfering with each other.

The court was originally scheduled to hear the case Wednesday, but Chief Justice John Roberts issued an order closing the court that day in observance of the national day of mourning for George H. W. Bush. The justices will issue their decision by late June.



Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Politics

Brussels GIVES UP: Frustrated Juncker reveals 'BREXIT FATIGUE' means NO-DEAL inevitable

Published

on

CHIEF Eurocrat Jean-Claude Juncker tonight night declared he was tired of Brexit and suggested Britain is on course to leave without a deal.

Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Trump draws blank on homosexuality decriminalization push

Published

on

By Tim Fitzsimons

A day after the highest-profile openly gay person in the Trump administration revealed his push to decriminalize homosexuality around the world, the president was caught on camera seemingly unaware of the effort.

Richard Grenell, in Meseberg, Germany on July 6, 2018.Axel Schmidt / Reuters file

Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, said Tuesday that he has total support from the administration for his gay rights program focusing on 71 countries where homosexuality is still illegal. But Wednesday, a reporter asked President Donald Trump in the Oval Office, “Mr. President, on your push to decriminalize homosexuality — are you doing that? And why?”

“Say it?” Trump responded.

“Your push to decriminalize homosexuality across the world,” the reporter repeated.

Trump responded: “I don’t know, uh, which report you’re talking about. We have many reports.”

Vice President Mike Pence, on the other hand — who has long drawn criticism from gay rights advocates who argue he has supported policies that are anti-LGBTQ, such as opposing same-sex marriage and gays serving in the military — told NBC News on Wednesday that he is in support of Grenell’s recently announced policy.

In a briefing with reporters at the State Department on Tuesday, deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino downplayed Grenell’s new effort, describing it as “long-standing,” “bipartisan” and “really is not a big policy departure.”

“I would say that this is a good opportunity to listen and to discuss ideas about how the United States can advance decriminalization of homosexuality around the world, and that’s been our policy,” Palladino said.



Source link

Continue Reading

Politics

Justin Trudeau: Activist CONDEMNS PM after fresh controversy – 'I want man-to-man apology'

Published

on

CANADA Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has faced more controversy after a black student and activist claimed he was a victim of racial profiling before a meeting with the politician.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending