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Old 09-28-2018, 11:41 AM
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Can/will the Supreme Court immunize Trump against state prosecution?


A post from an Elections thread about Kavanaugh pointed out by scr4 and davidm (using the former as the more recent):

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Originally Posted by scr4 View Post
A local Democratic Party facebook feed just posted this , I'll quote the relevant paragraph:

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If you check out SCOTUS blog, you will see that on next month's docket is: Gamble v. U.S., No. 17-646. Issue(s): Whether the Supreme Court should overrule the "separate sovereigns" exception to the double jeopardy clause (where you can be charged twice, via State and Federal charges, for the same crimes). They are desperate. The plan was to appoint Kavanaugh early this week so that he would be seated in time for this ruling.
This does seem relevant, since the President can pardon federal criminals but not state.

Thoughts?
I thought this was an interesting question, and it didn’t get a lot of traction on that thread amongst the other talk, so I thought it deserved its own thread.

Can the Supreme Court do what Democrats fear with this case? If so, what’s the feeling on its likelihood of actually happening? If it does, does it make anyone the President wishes to pardon immune from any previous crime forevermore by any American judicial entity? And, if you like, do you actually think this was a motive in the nomination or not?
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Old 09-28-2018, 02:40 PM
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In Puerto Rico v Sanchez Valle Ginsburg and Thomas indicated that they would like to see the doctrine of duel sovereignty reexamined in a future case. That there were only two seems to indicate it is unlikely to be overturned.
Kavanaugh being nominated had nothing to do with this.
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Old 09-28-2018, 02:42 PM
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Abrogation of the separate sovereigns doctrine would simply mean that a person could not be tried on both federal and state charges for the same conduct. It would have no effect on the President's pardon power, which extends to federal law only.
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Old 09-28-2018, 03:00 PM
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Abrogation of the separate sovereigns doctrine would simply mean that a person could not be tried on both federal and state charges for the same conduct. It would have no effect on the President's pardon power, which extends to federal law only.
But the point is, if a President in that circumstance pardons someone on the federal level, is there anywhere whatsoever that can try the pardoned on state level charges, if the two sets are similar?
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Old 09-28-2018, 03:36 PM
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OK, here's some ugly reality. The Supreme Court can do whatever it wants to do. There are no real checks on its power other than impeachment and even then the decision would be settled precedent. So, it is completely within the realm of possibility that Trump is convicted of a state crime and pardons himself. The state would likely say "Uh-uh, you can't do that." They would send people to arrest the President who could then simply refuse to be arrested. He's in Washington, DC, so they would have to find a way to get a warrant in DC. This would put them in the Federal Court System. It could be appealed up to the Supreme Court and they could say that Trump has a Constitutional Right to pardon himself. Does such a right exist? Nope, but the court has made up rights before and could probably make them up again if it suited them. I'm sure that they could come up with some sort of tangled logic. At that point, the full force of the Federal Government would protect him and for all intents and purposes a President could pardon himself from state crimes.

So it's probably something that CAN happen. Is it something that is likely to happen? I would hope not. It would probably signal a complete breakdown of all norms and effectively the rule of law. I would hope that at least five justices aren't completely corrupt and would say such a thing is impossible. I think with some certainty that the White House counsel would tell the President that it's illegal and can't be done, but our current President isn't exactly known to listen to reason.

I would say that the most likely outcome of a state attempting to indict a sitting President is that the Court would say "Nope, not as long as he's President. When he's not, he's a private citizen, so have at it." This is actually not a bad thing. A president shouldn't be above the law, but do we really want Alabama issuing indictments against Barack Obama for forging his birth certificate? Because you know, sooner or later that's what this would turn into. I think that it's reasonable that a President enjoys a certain amount of protection while in office just so that the country doesn't fall apart while he's being denied bail in a California courthouse for an unpaid parking ticket. Realistically, there is a Constitutional way to get rid of a President who is a criminal, it's called impeachment and if a legislature is incapable of doing that, then it's a problem with the legislature and by extension the American voter, not the system.
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Old 09-28-2018, 03:55 PM
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But the point is, if a President in that circumstance pardons someone on the federal level, is there anywhere whatsoever that can try the pardoned on state level charges, if the two sets are similar?
Good question, and it would be a bit more complicated than my first answer suggests.

Without the separate sovereigns doctrine, if the feds have not prosecuted to a point where jeopardy attaches*, a state can still prosecute. If the president issues a pardon before jeopardy has attached in a federal case, then a state can still prosecute. When I answered before, I was thinking of this situation.

If the feds have prosecuted all the way to trial such that jeopardy has attached, and then the president issues a pardon, that presents a new issue. Does the pardon leave jeopardy in place or eradicate it, for purposes of the state's ability to prosecute? The answer to that may depend on how the SCt structures a ruling doing away with separate sovereigns. My own view is that a state would be able to prosecute, because to rule otherwise is to expand the pardon power beyond constitutional limits. But I can see solid arguments the other way as well, that jeopardy in that situation would remain attached, and the state would be barred.

*This is a defined term in the law of double jeopardy. My recollection is that prosecutors can charge a case a second time if the first case was dismissed for any reason before a jury was empanelled. If the first case went past that point, charging the defendant again amounts to double jeopardy -- i.e., jeopardy has attached.
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Old 09-28-2018, 06:25 PM
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But if, say, Manafort were pardoned for his offenses which include violations of Federal Income tax law, he could still be tried in his home state for violation of the state income tax law since that is really a distinct offense.

Another exception to double jeopardy is a hung jury, so just impaneling a jury cannot be the only thing that implies jeopardy.
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Old 09-28-2018, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Tildrum View Post
Abrogation of the separate sovereigns doctrine would simply mean that a person could not be tried on both federal and state charges for the same conduct.
Do does this mean that the police officers involved in the Rodney King fiasco who were acquitted of using excessive force could not be prosecuted by the federal government for violating King's civil rights (which they were)?

I guess I am asking if it is meant to ban being prosecuted for the same crime (e.g. state excessive use of force and federal excessive use of force...pretend that could happen for the sake of argument) or if the same act can be prosecuted for different reasons (e.g. state excessive use of force and federal violating civil rights)?
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Old 10-01-2018, 12:42 PM
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Do does this mean that the police officers involved in the Rodney King fiasco who were acquitted of using excessive force could not be prosecuted by the federal government for violating King's civil rights (which they were)?

I guess I am asking if it is meant to ban being prosecuted for the same crime (e.g. state excessive use of force and federal excessive use of force...pretend that could happen for the sake of argument) or if the same act can be prosecuted for different reasons (e.g. state excessive use of force and federal violating civil rights)?
Been a while since law school, but off the top of my head double jeopardy does not prohibit prosecution for a crime which has an element that is distinct from the elements of the previous crime, and which is missing an element of the previously charged crime.

So let's say that the federal government charged Donny with mopery, which is the crime of breaking, entering, and peeing on things. He pardons himself.

West Dakota then charges Donny with dopery, which is breaking, entering, and tweeting stupid stuff. If my recollection is correct, the double jeopardy rule does not bar the W.D. prosecution, even though it is based on the same act.
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Old 10-01-2018, 01:06 PM
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If the feds have prosecuted all the way to trial such that jeopardy has attached, and then the president issues a pardon, that presents a new issue. Does the pardon leave jeopardy in place or eradicate it, for purposes of the state's ability to prosecute? The answer to that may depend on how the SCt structures a ruling doing away with separate sovereigns. My own view is that a state would be able to prosecute, because to rule otherwise is to expand the pardon power beyond constitutional limits. But I can see solid arguments the other way as well, that jeopardy in that situation would remain attached, and the state would be barred.
It threatens to create a mess, I think. I think it's universally understood that the Double Jeopardy protections covers the three common law pleas of: already convicted, already acquired, and pardoned. So I don't think we would say that a pardon erases the jeopardy. But, of course, the President can only pardon federal crimes, so a more expansive DJ protection threatens to expand that power more broadly. (Some states, as I understand it, afford state DJ protection for pardoned federal crimes, but that's a state law question). I think I agree with your view, although it does seem to undermine the point of the DJ protection is a state can prosecute for the exact same crime. I'm not sure how often this would come up, though, since I think there's a pretty small set of federal/state crimes that would "fail" Blockburger. It certainly shouldn't lead to the complete immunization of people who received federal pardons from state prosecution for "similar" conduct.

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Been a while since law school, but off the top of my head double jeopardy does not prohibit prosecution for a crime which has an element that is distinct from the elements of the previous crime, and which is missing an element of the previously charged crime.

So let's say that the federal government charged Donny with mopery, which is the crime of breaking, entering, and peeing on things. He pardons himself.

West Dakota then charges Donny with dopery, which is breaking, entering, and tweeting stupid stuff. If my recollection is correct, the double jeopardy rule does not bar the W.D. prosecution, even though it is based on the same act.
I think that is right and we still use the old Blockburger test. "The applicable rule is that, where the same act or transaction constitutes a violation of two distinct statutory provisions, the test to be applied to determine whether there are two offenses or only one is whether each provision requires proof of an additional fact which the other does not."

As I recall (faintly), in practice, this a messy area of the law and is complicated with respect to individual offenses. (And calls for reform, including with respect to the separate sovereign issue, vastly predate Trump's election).
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Old 10-01-2018, 03:17 PM
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The more likely issue to come into play for Trump, I think, is tax fraud. If he gets nailed for Federal tax fraud, then he'll almost certainly face a similar charge in New York State, and possibly even NY City. One of our resident lawyers can correct me if I'm wrong, but I assume federal and state tax fraud are two completely separate things, even though they are both tax fraud.
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Old 10-02-2018, 11:04 AM
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*This is a defined term in the law of double jeopardy. My recollection is that prosecutors can charge a case a second time if the first case was dismissed for any reason before a jury was empanelled. If the first case went past that point, charging the defendant again amounts to double jeopardy -- i.e., jeopardy has attached.
Yes... but.

It's absolutely correct that jeopardy attaches when the jury is sworn (or when the judge begins hearing evidence, if it's a bench trial). But even past that point -- and I know you know this, but just making it clear for readers -- some results short of an acquittal can potentially permit a retrial, or be barred still by double jeopardy principles.
  • Mistrial on defense motion -- no general bar to retrial
  • Mistrial on defense motion based on prosecutorial misconduct - potential double jeopardy bar
  • Mistrial on hung jury -- no bar to retrial
  • Judgement of acquittal as a matter of law following jury conviction -- no double jeopardy bar to retrial if prosecution appeals and appellate court reverses
  • Appeal of guilty verdict, and appellate reversal -- no general bar to retrial
  • Appeal of guilty verdict on grounds of insufficient evidence, and appellate reversal -- double jeopardy bars retrial
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Old 10-03-2018, 02:19 PM
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IANAL but IMHO:
The Supreme Court can only decide the issue presented in the case they are hearing. Gamble has nothing to do with pardons or executive privilege. It only will answer the question of whether a person who was convicted or found innocent by a sovereign can later be placed in jeopardy of conviction by another sovereign based on the identical circumstances and actions. It should obviously be decided 8-0, or 9-0. It should have no impact on Trump at all save for dicta that may be inserted to persuade future courts on just what "identical facts and circumstances" might consist of.
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Old 10-05-2018, 06:02 AM
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There's a "Lawsplainer" about this on Popehat today. I'm not a lawyer, so I can't vouch for the accuracy, but he generally does a good job of turning legal-ese into something resembling normal human language.
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Old 10-05-2018, 09:36 AM
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There's a "Lawsplainer" about this on Popehat today. I'm not a lawyer, so I can't vouch for the accuracy, but he generally does a good job of turning legal-ese into something resembling normal human language.
Ken "Popehat" White is not, to put the matter mildly, any kind of a Trump fan.

And his analysis is spot-on. The Blockburger test is also discussed above in this very thread, Really Not All That Bright describes it without naming it and Tom Tildrum concurs.

I suppose it's conceivable that Gamble could begin an onslaught, with some future case extending Ashe v Swenson's collateral estoppel regime into forbidding subsequent state prosecution when the state prosecution seeks to to prove an issue arguably foreclosed by the federal prosecution. But it's very safe to say that no matter how it comes out, Gamble itself won't affect presidential pardon power in any meaningful way.
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Old 10-06-2018, 11:48 AM
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Been a while since law school, but off the top of my head double jeopardy does not prohibit prosecution for a crime which has an element that is distinct from the elements of the previous crime, and which is missing an element of the previously charged crime.

So let's say that the federal government charged Donny with mopery, which is the crime of breaking, entering, and peeing on things. He pardons himself.

West Dakota then charges Donny with dopery, which is breaking, entering, and tweeting stupid stuff. If my recollection is correct, the double jeopardy rule does not bar the W.D. prosecution, even though it is based on the same act.

So it seems that Gamble would have little practical effect, and it would seem not even to protect Gamble:

Quote:
Originally Posted by AL Code Section 13A-11-72
Certain persons forbidden to possess pistol.
(a) No person who has been convicted in this state or elsewhere of committing or attempting to commit a crime of violence shall own a pistol or have one in his or her possession or under his or her control.

(b) No person who is a drug addict or an habitual drunkard shall own a pistol or have one in his or her possession or under his or her control.
(
Quote:
Originally Posted by 18 U.S.C. 922
g) It shall be unlawful for any person—
(1) who has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;...to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.
Applying Blockburger, the Alabama law forbids only pistols and only those convicted of a crime of violence. The federal law prohibits possession or shipping of any firearm type and only those in or affecting interstate commerce.

My back of the envelope judging says that they are different crimes.

Last edited by UltraVires; 10-06-2018 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 10-06-2018, 12:02 PM
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In other words, suppose the dual sovereign doctrine is eliminated. Gamble is convicted under the AL statute for possessing a pistol after having been convicted of a crime of violence.

The Feds indict him under 922 (g) (1). He pleads double jeopardy. The feds say, but wait, we are not charging you with possessing a pistol. We are charging you with receiving a firearm that has previously travelled in interstate commerce. None of those facts were part of Gamble's conviction in state court.
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Old 10-06-2018, 09:26 PM
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Can/will the Supreme Court immunize Trump against state prosecution?


Wouldn't there always have to be al least one significant difference in the elements between a federal crime and a state crime? Since Congress doesn't have a general criminal law power, it has to define the crime with reference to at least one federal element that wouldn't be in the state crime?

Inter-state commerce, as ultra vires comments; federally protected officer (e.g. The Prez, the Veep); federal employees (as in the OK city bombing); violation of federal civil rights (Rodney King case).

So if there's always a separate federal element, where's the double jeopardy?
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Old 10-06-2018, 10:44 PM
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That not only has not been slated for next months docket...it would not give Trump power to pardon state crimes. And believe me, i'd love for the President to be able to pardon state crimes. Could wipe out draconian drug sentences in a heartbeat.
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Old 10-06-2018, 11:16 PM
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Wouldn't there always have to be al least one significant difference in the elements between a federal crime and a state crime? Since Congress doesn't have a general criminal law power, it has to define the crime with reference to at least one federal element that wouldn't be in the state crime?
I think there are instances where the state law might use the same element as an aggravating factor. Like if it's a more severe crime to kill a law enforcement officer, the state might have written the statute to include federal agents.

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Old 10-06-2018, 11:55 PM
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Wouldn't there always have to be al least one significant difference in the elements between a federal crime and a state crime? Since Congress doesn't have a general criminal law power, it has to define the crime with reference to at least one federal element that wouldn't be in the state crime?

Inter-state commerce, as ultra vires comments; federally protected officer (e.g. The Prez, the Veep); federal employees (as in the OK city bombing); violation of federal civil rights (Rodney King case).

So if there's always a separate federal element, where's the double jeopardy?
Blockburger requires that each statute contain a
an element that the other does not. If a state statute had A, B, and C elements and the federal statute had A, B, C, and a federal element D, they are not separate crimes.
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Old 10-07-2018, 12:17 AM
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That not only has not been slated for next months docket...it would not give Trump power to pardon state crimes. And believe me, i'd love for the President to be able to pardon state crimes. Could wipe out draconian drug sentences in a heartbeat.
How would that happen? The only two even plausible ways, I can think off is either interpret the “United States” in the provision to mean the US and every State or use the 14th Amendment incorporation doctrine.....and frankly neither seem to be a feasible argument to present.
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Old 10-07-2018, 07:26 AM
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Thanks for the answers to this. I now realize I've spread a conspiracy theory for the first, and hopefully last, time.
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Old 10-07-2018, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Bricker View Post
Blockburger requires that each statute contain a

an element that the other does not. If a state statute had A, B, and C elements and the federal statute had A, B, C, and a federal element D, they are not separate crimes.


Thanks!
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Old 10-07-2018, 09:32 AM
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Now I have weird Ven diagrams of elements of offences dsncing around in my head ...
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Old 10-07-2018, 09:58 AM
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Now I have weird Ven diagrams of elements of offences dsncing around in my head ...
just don't get him started on mopery-dopery doc!
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Old 10-07-2018, 10:02 AM
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Blockburger requires that each statute contain a
an element that the other does not. If a state statute had A, B, and C elements and the federal statute had A, B, C, and a federal element D, they are not separate crimes.
I agree, but Blockburger has always confused me. In this example are "possession of a pistol" and "possession of a firearm" different element?

--I think I know this one, but am not sure. My guess, if Gamble was convicted of possessing a pistol in Alabama, and that very same fact was used to prosecute him federally for possessing a firearm, then that fact of consequence can be pled as a double jeopardy bar. Even if federally they had to prove it had travelled in interstate commerce, because as you said, Blockburger requires both crimes to have different elements. Do you agree with me on this point?

To my second point: What if instead of charging Gamble with the possession of the firearm at the time Alabama did, it charged him with receiving a firearm at some time prior after the firearm had been transported in interstate commerce? That, at least to me, is a fact of consequence that was not part and parcel of his Alabama conviction and, IMHO, would not bar a subsequent prosecution. What do you think?
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Old 10-07-2018, 10:58 AM
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I agree, but Blockburger has always confused me. In this example are "possession of a pistol" and "possession of a firearm" different element?

--I think I know this one, but am not sure. My guess, if Gamble was convicted of possessing a pistol in Alabama, and that very same fact was used to prosecute him federally for possessing a firearm, then that fact of consequence can be pled as a double jeopardy bar. Even if federally they had to prove it had travelled in interstate commerce, because as you said, Blockburger requires both crimes to have different elements. Do you agree with me on this point?

To my second point: What if instead of charging Gamble with the possession of the firearm at the time Alabama did, it charged him with receiving a firearm at some time prior after the firearm had been transported in interstate commerce? That, at least to me, is a fact of consequence that was not part and parcel of his Alabama conviction and, IMHO, would not bar a subsequent prosecution. What do you think?
A pistol is a firearm (in case you were wondering ).

So let's imagine that the only elements of the crime in Alabama are: (1) Possession of (2) a pistol, (3) as a prohibited person.

And that the federal crime's elements are: (1) Possession of (2) a firearm, (3) which has traveled in interstate commerce, (4) as a prohibited person.

(I have no idea what the actual elements of each crime are, mind you; just going with this simplified theory.)

Those two are the same crime for double jeopardy Blockburger purposes. If they were both federal crimes, the first would be a lesser-included offense of the second. But since all the elements of the first crime are also in the second, they are the same crime as far as double jeopardy is concerned.

I'm not sure I understand your second question. Are you asking what if ALABAMA charged Gamble with (1) Receiving (2) a firearm, (3) which has traveled in interstate commerce, (4) as a prohibited person?

Then the other Alabama charge would be a lesser-included offense. Conviction (or acquittal) on that first charge would bar a second trial on the second charge.

I'd remind you, too, that even when two charges are different under Blockburger, there can arise collateral estoppel concerns under Ashe v Swenson. Mutuality of the parties is necessary for collateral estoppel, and so that's not a problem if one trial is state and one federal, but the same sovereign can't necessarily prosecute for the same acts after an acquittal even when the crimes are not the same under Blockburger.

Last edited by Bricker; 10-07-2018 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 10-07-2018, 11:32 PM
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A pistol is a firearm (in case you were wondering ).

So let's imagine that the only elements of the crime in Alabama are: (1) Possession of (2) a pistol, (3) as a prohibited person.

And that the federal crime's elements are: (1) Possession of (2) a firearm, (3) which has traveled in interstate commerce, (4) as a prohibited person.

(I have no idea what the actual elements of each crime are, mind you; just going with this simplified theory.)

Those two are the same crime for double jeopardy Blockburger purposes. If they were both federal crimes, the first would be a lesser-included offense of the second. But since all the elements of the first crime are also in the second, they are the same crime as far as double jeopardy is concerned.

I'm not sure I understand your second question. Are you asking what if ALABAMA charged Gamble with (1) Receiving (2) a firearm, (3) which has traveled in interstate commerce, (4) as a prohibited person?

Then the other Alabama charge would be a lesser-included offense. Conviction (or acquittal) on that first charge would bar a second trial on the second charge.

I'd remind you, too, that even when two charges are different under Blockburger, there can arise collateral estoppel concerns under Ashe v Swenson. Mutuality of the parties is necessary for collateral estoppel, and so that's not a problem if one trial is state and one federal, but the same sovereign can't necessarily prosecute for the same acts after an acquittal even when the crimes are not the same under Blockburger.
No, the second question was what if the feds charged him with receiving a firearm in interstate commerce, after Alabama had already convicted him of possession of a pistol/firearm. (I concede your point that a pistol is a firearm, but I seem to recall a strict elements test somewhere in my head that since a firearm is not always a pistol, they are different elements).

So, each law has an element that the other does not...possessing v. receiving.

The question of whether Gamble possessed a firearm at the time he was caught is a different question than whether he received it at a prior time in or affecting commerce, so collateral estoppel does not apply.
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Old 10-08-2018, 09:27 AM
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But Bricker, while all pistols are firearms, not all firearms are pistols. It's at least conceivable that there might be a weapon where it's ambiguous whether it counts as a "pistol" or not, and the Alabama court would thus need to prove that it is a pistol as a matter of fact, while the federal court would not have to prove that. Granted that it would probably be fairly easy for the Alabama court to prove that, it's still something that needs to be proven.
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Old 10-08-2018, 04:51 PM
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But Bricker, while all pistols are firearms, not all firearms are pistols. It's at least conceivable that there might be a weapon where it's ambiguous whether it counts as a "pistol" or not, and the Alabama court would thus need to prove that it is a pistol as a matter of fact, while the federal court would not have to prove that. Granted that it would probably be fairly easy for the Alabama court to prove that, it's still something that needs to be proven.
But if Alabama has proven it is a pistol as a matter of fact, it has also proven it is a firearm (I realize that I am contradicting my parenthetical comment above ) so a defendant could plead that as collateral estoppel.

As far as possessing/receiving, one might ask how can a person possess a firearm without having at some point in the past also received it. The federal law distinguishes the two so another doctrine (again I forget) states that Congress meant two different things for the terms. Possibly one could constructively possess a firearm, say he lives in a house with his wife who actually received the gun, but he did not actually receive it.

Also, couldn't the state prosecute him for the firearm and the feds prosecute him for the ammunition?
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Old 10-08-2018, 08:03 PM
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No, the second question was what if the feds charged him with receiving a firearm in interstate commerce, after Alabama had already convicted him of possession of a pistol/firearm. (I concede your point that a pistol is a firearm, but I seem to recall a strict elements test somewhere in my head that since a firearm is not always a pistol, they are different elements).

So, each law has an element that the other does not...possessing v. receiving.

The question of whether Gamble possessed a firearm at the time he was caught is a different question than whether he received it at a prior time in or affecting commerce, so collateral estoppel does not apply.
It's true: possession is a continuing offense and receiving is not. Yeah, I agree those are different for DJ purposes.
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:16 AM
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The court, by a 7-2 vote, chose to retain the separate sovereigns doctrine (PDF).
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:31 AM
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Good news, everyone!
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:33 AM
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Can anyone translate what this means?
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:33 AM
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With Ginsberg and Gorsuch dissenting. Not anyone I expected.

Regards,
Shodan

PS - I was hoping this thread would be bumped by Bricker and/or John Mace.
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:35 AM
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Can anyone translate what this means?
AIUI, it means you can be prosecuted for the same thing twice - once by the state govt., once by the Feds - and it doesn't count as double jeopardy.
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:36 AM
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With Ginsberg and Gorsuch dissenting.
Thus solidifying a new block in the SCOTUS -- the G's. Notably, the K's (Kavanaugh and Kagan) also stuck together, on the other side. Undoubtedly the Trump WH is now combing through the judicial roles to find another T to pair with Thomas should there be another vacancy.
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Old 06-17-2019, 09:43 AM
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Can anyone translate what this means?
It means that you can be prosecuted for the same crime twice by different "sovereigns" notwithstanding the Fifth Amendment's protection against double jeopardy. So, you can be (for example) prosecuted (and punished) for possessing a firearm while being a convicted felon twice, even if the elements of the crimes are the same.

This has been a widely debated issue for many years with differences of opinion that varied widely across the political spectrum (e.g., the two dissents in this case were Gorsuch and Ginsburg). I'm not sure any side is obviously correct -- issues of sovereignty versus fairness make both arguments compelling.

Edit: I guess I should also note that I've never seen any serious argument why this decision would affect Trump one way or another.

Last edited by Falchion; 06-17-2019 at 09:45 AM.
  #40  
Old 06-17-2019, 09:53 AM
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Yeah, the Trump thing is a sideshow.

It's always been an odd thing, how the states - though by now fully under the control of the federal government - are somehow also sovereign. But, today's ruling indicates they are and remain so.

It's fine, I suppose, in that at least it reaffirms something.
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