SCOTUS Allows State and Federal Prosecutions for Same Crime

SCOTUS Allows State and Federal Prosecutions for Same Crime June 18, 2019

The Supreme Court affirmed a longstanding principle that the double jeopardy prohibition in the Constitution only applies to a single level of government, ruling that someone could face both state and federal charges for the same crime. In effect, this means a state can prosecute someone for a crime that Trump has pardoned them for at the federal level.

In a decision that could affect associates of President Trump accused of wrongdoing and hoping for pardons, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that criminal defendants may be prosecuted for the same offenses in both federal and state court. Since Mr. Trump’s pardon power extends only to federal crimes, the ruling leaves people he pardons subject to state prosecutions.

The vote was 7 to 2, with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Neil M. Gorsuch each filing dissents.

Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said there was no good reason to overrule 170 years of precedents allowing separate prosecutions.

This reduces Trump’s ability to promise a pardon to those who might be able to damage him who are already being prosecuted, or might be prosecuted, under federal law. It’s an open door for states like New York to reopen cases against defendants after Trump has pardoned them.

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