I say 90 days. Trump’s capable of creating such media mayhem on an hour to hour basis that he can erase stories from the front page rapidly. Simple fact. So, give this case…60-90 days. Nobody will remember this guy.
Since he’s the actual personification of Trump’s Border Agenda, he’ll be pardoning him. No way he’d let someone swing who is involved in protecting the borders…
Killing prostitutes is part of Trump’s “Border Agenda”? News to me. By all accounts Trump is quite fond of prostitutes.
I don’t see any indication that this guy was targeting illegal immigrants. This article has more information. The two identified victims have Hispanic names, but then so does the accused. There’s no indication that they were illegals.
I’m not sure what you perceive the political advantage of pardoning this guy would be, even if Trump could do so, which he can’t. Murder is not (generally) a federal crime.
The Border Patrol agent case that’s breaking today and in the last few days caught my eye because of Trump’s adoration of his powers of Pardon. That coupled with his obsession with the southern Border prompted the O.P.
There aren’t a lot of laws that actually are applied in Texas. Wonder how much of a magnet that is to nefarious sorts with a hot crush on law enforcement…
Not actually agreeing with the OP on this, but devil’s advocating for a bit of clarification.
That they were not necessarily undocumented immigrants doesn’t mean much to conservatives these days. They don’t like the legal immigrants any more than illegal ones. Besides, even if they were legal, they were probably actually illegal, and have forged birth certificates. (Not what I believe, but something that trump supporters may very well).
Murder is a federal crime, it is just normally prosecuted at the state or lower level, rather than at the federal. If the state of Texas refuses to indict, it would be possible for the US justice department to step in with charges, something that would be less likely should a pardon be extended to border patrol agents “just doing their jobs”.
The political advantage would be to his bigoted base. He hasn’t thrown them much meat for a while, nothing real juicy since calling Nazis very fine people. Pardoning serial killers, so long as those serial killers are targeting the "right " people, could shore up the hate vote.
Not nearly a stretch, as we see. His moves are so predictable. If he wasn’t working so hard to appeal to his bigoted base, why has he been holding campaign rallies since shortly after he entered office?
The goal is to persecute everyone who isn’t a white right winger; few if any people actually care about immigration, it’s all about racism. The fact that the victims had Hispanic names is more than enough for Trump and his supporters to want them to die slowly. The fact that one of the victims was transgender will only add to their ecstasy.
All over the country there are right wingers cheering this guy on, I’m sure.
So he can have people cheer him and stroke his ego.
Even if Trump could pardon him, I think you are missing the point of Trump and his “justice”. This guy never did anything for Trump personally, he never helped get Trump out of a jam. So no pardon, even if it were possible.
Murder is not a federal crime, and a generic murder cannot be prosecuted by the Justice Department if the state in question refuses to prosecute, because the run of the mill murder is not a federal crime. So what you said is not completely accurate, even though it’s very possible that this precise crime may have some federal nexus, and thus possible that what you said is true as applied to this case.
There are many specific circumstances that can make a murder into federal business. For example, murder of a Supreme Court Justice, or even a person nominated to be a Supreme Court justice during the pendency of their nomination, is a federal crime. 18 USC § 351(a).
Murder for hire, if the conspiracy was arranged by using the instrumentalities of interstate commerce (cell phones, Internet, land lines), or by US mail, or by interstate travel, that’s a federal crime. 18 USC § 1958.
Murder in the commission of rape is a federal crime; as is murder by poison; by lying in wait; in the course of arson; in the course of treason, espionage, or sabotage; perpetrated as part of a pattern or practice of assault or torture against a child or children; killing someone to cause the death of another person; 18 U.S. Code § 1111. Murder on a federal enclave located in a state “assimilates” the state law into the federal and allows a federal prosecution for murder. 18 U.S. Code § 13(a).
There are plenty of other examples, but they all share a common feature: the murder has some nexus to an area of federal power or control.
Now, in the case we’re discussing, I don’t know the details of the investigation. If the Border Patrol agent used his federal job in any way to commit these murders, there would likely have been a federal charge possible. If there was rape or sexual assault involved, often the case when serial killers target sex workers, then federal involvement is possible.
But if he, on his days off, cruised around town, picked up victims, and simply shot and killed them, all within one state, then there probably is no federal murder charge that could apply.
There are lots of ways for a murder charge to be prosecuted federally. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that ALL murder can somehow be prosecuted federally.
That said, as pointed out above, Texas convictions could not be pardoned by the President, although federal convictions could, so the OP’s premise is, as was noted above, not a possibility. Trump can’t pardon this guy when Texas convicts him.
Thank you for that. I was making the mistake of thinking that all murder could be prosecuted federally, I just assumed they had no reason to, unless it was under a specific federal jurisdiction that made state jurisdiction complicated.
I suppose all of the times that I’ve seen murder taken up by the feds was because it involved one of those actually rather numerous and not all that uncommon (for violent murders) conditions.
Not that it really matters in this case, as I would not think that Texas should have any reason to not pursue charges, and I really did think the OP is extremely far fetched even before that.
As to a more likely variation of the OP, IMHO, would be a border patrol or ICE agent who, while on duty, kills some unarmed immigrants under obvious enough circumstances that they are actually charged with murder. I would think that in that case, they would actually be charged federally, and I could see that being the test case for a pardon.
I could certainly see that gaining quite a bit of support from his base, as such a person would be a hero to many of the more extreme bigots that are attracted to the trump experience.
Huh. IANAL, but are you sure about this part? That list is far broader than I expected.
It appears to me that 18 U.S. Code § 1111 is merely defining what aggravating circumstances make a homicide a murder in the first degree (and potentially eligible for the death penalty) as opposed to murder in the second degree (for which the max penalty is life imprisonment), but is not actually setting out what murders are under federal jurisdiction:
I do see that 18 U.S. Code § 1958 does create pretty broad circumstances for federal jurisdiction over murder if Alice hired someone else to kill Bob (whether by putting poison in his porridge or bashing his head in while he eats breakfast). If Alice texts Bob “Sry abt last nite Why dont U come home and have nice bowl of porridge? :o” as part of her murderous scheme to pay Charlie to kill Bob, then I guess the feds really could press federal charges, even if no one crossed any state lines, and Alice met Charlie in a bar and never talked to him on the phone or sent him any e-mails about killing Bob in exchange for the bearer bonds.
It seems to me you’re suggesting that murder by poison (or by lying in wait, or in the course of arson, etc.) is a federal crime, solely by virtue of having been perpetrated by using poison (or by lying in wait, etc.). I don’t see how that’s right.
What 18 U.S. Code § 1111 says is that IF a murder is a federal offense, and that murder is (among other things) committed by using poison, then it’s a first-degree murder (and might be punished by death); as opposed to a murder that is a federal offense and that is not committed using poison (or any of the other aggravating circumstances enumerated in 18 U.S. Code § 1111) which would be a federal second-degree murder (with a maximum penalty of life in prison). Note that 18 U.S. Code § 1111 also says “Any other murder is murder in the second degree…Whoever is guilty of murder in the second degree, shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life.”
It seems to me that you’re reading § 1111 in a way that would make any “unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought” into a federal crime (either first-degree or second-degree murder); even my non-lawyer self knows that can’t be right.