I assume every state has laws against sexual assault right? Is there anything preventing a state court trying him for a crime he was alleged to commit before he was in office? (assuming statute of limitations has not run out)
He could, but conviction would not remove him from office. Only the Senate can do that.
And he is not going to be different from anyone else - the DA would need proof beyond a reasonable doubt, he has the right to an attorney, he may not be forced to testify against himself, etc.
We don’t know the answer, actually.
Some Presidents have asserted that they should be immune from criminal prosecution, especially state criminal prosecution. That proposition has never really been tested. There are certainly some arguments to make in its favor, including the fact that impeachment seems to be contemplated as the remedy for crimes.
If it’s possible, the best case for it will be a crime that occurred before the President was in office, to minimize supremacy clause concerns.
If he were to end up in jail, I tend to think it might be hard to do his job from behind bars.
I believe that if a member of Congress is convicted of a crime they usually quit on their own but not 100% of the time. They can also be expelled and some have been.
Also recall that the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that Clinton could be sued while in office for what he did before the election. So you would think the same logic would apply to a criminal case.
Ulysses Grant once got a speeding ticket in DC. He paid the fine, but could he have fought it on the grounds of being immune from prosecution?
I don’t want to hijack the thread, but this story sounded so unusual that I had to check it out and it’s fascinating. Thank you!
In the unanimous opinion by Justice John Paul Stevens, the Court ruled that separation of powers does not mandate that federal courts delay all private civil lawsuits against the President until the end of his term of office.
Note that this is concerning civil lawsuits, not criminal lawsuits.
And I think the restriction of freedom associated with criminal sentencing would require a different analysis. A state prosecution of a President amounts to one local official depriving the rest of the American public its constitutionally-selected chief executive. (Imagine a DA in Mississippi or Wyoming attempting to imprison Obama, for instance).
In theory, the President could remain on federal property at all times and be unreachable by extradition, but even that is a severe restriction upon his or her activities.
Has anyone in Congress ever been on trial for a state crime?
VP Agnew plead guilty to tax evasion for things he did before being VP but he also did the same stuff while he was VP. He quit as VP the same day he plead guilty.
If a state DA cannot indict the president then doesn’t that make him above the law?
If he smuggled a cellphone into prison (rectally, I assume) he could still govern at the same level he has since his inauguration.
Several. Federal too.
Agreed. And not just the sentencing. Imagine some rural DA impanels a grand jury who indicts the President for some felony charge he allegedly committed when he was in that state.
The President would have to surrender himself, get a mug shot and finger prints taken, and then post bail. Can he be handcuffed? Do the secret service agents follow him into the police station? Could he order a nuclear strike while sitting at a booking desk?
What if the bail condition said that he was not permitted to leave the state? What if he had to surrender his passport so no upcoming summit meeting in Geneva?
I think the Supremacy Clause along with the Impeachment Clause would serve to have the Supreme Court say that any criminal prosecution must be deferred until after his term of office. If he has really committed a serious crime, then that could be tomorrow if he is impeached and removed.