Brazil: Supreme court renewed expectation that Lula will have sentence overturned

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL’S 247 NEWS)

 

Supreme court renewed expectation that Lula will have sentence overturned, says Zanin

Former President Lula’s lawyer, Cristiano Zanin Martins said the STF showed on Wednesday that it will observe due process and enforces the Constitution by barring the forced transfer of Lula to Sao Paulo; “This renews our expectation that former President Lula will be entitled to a fair, impartial and independent trial,” said Zanin.

247 – Lawyer Cristiano Zanin Martins stated that the ruling by the Supreme Court (STF) , by 10 votes to 1, which suspended the transfer of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from Curitiba to Sao Paulo signals that the Supreme Court should observe the I owe legal process when judging the suspicion of Sérgio Moro in the judgment against Lula. 

“Today, the Federal Supreme Court has shown that it will observe due process and enforce the Constitution and this renews our expectation that former President Lula will be entitled to a fair, impartial and independent trial,” the former lawyer said. president in a statement to reporters after the decision of the Supreme Court. 

“We hope that the Second Chamber of the Federal Supreme Court will be able to resume habeas corpus trial soon and, on merits, acknowledge the suspicion of former judge Sergio Moro. As a result, nullify the entire process and restore the full freedom of the former. President Lula, because this is the only possible result for someone who has not committed any offense, “said Cristiano Zanin. 

Read below, Reuters report on the STF decision:

Lula stays at PF in Curitiba at least until judgment of appeal by STF, decides Court

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Federal Supreme Court (STF) ministers overturned Wednesday afternoon court decision to transfer former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva from the Federal Police Superintendence in Curitiba to a prison facility in São Paulo until the court judges another appeal calling for the petista’s freedom – held since April last year.  

The decision of the STF, taken by 10 votes to 1, met the request of the defense of the former president, contrary to the determination of Judge Carolina Moura Lebbos who heeded the request of the PF of Curitiba to transfer Lula to São Paulo.

Following Lebbos’s ruling, São Paulo Judge Paulo Eduardo de Almeida Sorci had ruled that Lula, who is under arrest for the conviction in the case of the Guarujá (SP) triplex, should serve the remainder of his sentence at the Tremembé prison in the interior of São Paulo. .

The impasse over Lula’s transfer had strong repercussions in Brasilia, moving at least two Powers. It involved the Supreme Court, who put the case at the last minute for consideration by the court plenary, and even delayed the completion of the vote on the highlights of the second round of Social Security reform in the House of Representatives.

First, the defense of the petista appealed to Supreme Minister Gilmar Mendes – who has been since the end of last semester with a vote cast on a request for freedom of the former president.

In the middle of the afternoon, Mendes issued an order passing to the Supreme President, Dias Toffoli, the competence to decide who would appreciate the request of the defense of the former president who sought one of three ways: the freedom of Lula until the trial of the suspicion of the. former Lava Jato judge and Justice Minister Sergio Moro; the suspension of the transfer; or at least the determination that the rest of the prison be served in the staff room, not in a regular prison.

Returning from the break of the Supreme Plenary session, Toffoli then announced that the petitioner’s defense request would be reported by Edson Fachin, who is the original rapporteur of Lula’s freedom appeal. The case was then considered by the entire plenary, and Fachin’s vow to keep the former president in detention in the Curitiba Federal District prevailed until the Second Supreme Panel decided to dismiss Moro’s suspicions.

Of the 11 ministers, only Marco Aurélio Mello was against the Supreme Court to analyze the request, claiming that the jurisdiction would be the Federal Regional Court of the 4th Region (TRF-4).

Providence

The case involving Lula’s transfer also sparked reactions in Congress, including criticism from lawmakers who opposed the petista such as the PSDB, and in practice paralyzed the completion of the Social Security reform vote.

The biggest complaint was that Lula could not be transferred to a common prison by the prerogative of former president.

Mayor Rodrigo Maia (DEM-RJ), who even agreed with the criticism during the Social Security session, decided to hold back the vote of the highlights so that a group of deputies from various parties could meet with the president of Supreme to ask the court to adjudicate the case as soon as possible.

According to House Majority leader Aguinaldo Ribeiro (PP-PB), news about Lula’s transfer did not contaminate the vote on the Social Security reform in plenary. He admitted, however, that the delay in analyzing the second highlight of the proposal was due to Maia’s commitment to await the return of parliamentarians from the Supreme Court.

According to the first deputy mayor, Deputy Marcos Pereira (PRB-SP), more than 80 parliamentarians from 12 parties were part of the group that met with Toffoli.

“Everyone spoke in the name of democracy,” Pereira later reported.

Brazil: Lula’s defense celebrates the Supreme Court considers evidence of Vaza Jato valid

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL’S 247 NEWS)

 

Lula’s defense celebrates the fact that the Supreme Court considers the evidence of Vaza Jato valid

The former president’s attorneys believe he has fallen apart, so the argument that the talks are invalid evidence because they were obtained illegally, reports journalist Monica Bergamo.

247 – “Lula’s defense celebrated the measures taken by the Justice Supreme Court (STF) ministers Luiz Fux and Alexandre de Moraes on Thursday (1st), regarding the dialogues of prosecutors of Operation Lava Jato. Fux determined that the material was preserved and Alexandre de Moraes went further: it ordered the suspension of investigations by the IRS on magistrates mentioned in the conversation, “says journalist Monica Bergamo, in her column .

“With that, supporters of the petista believe, the STF has recognized that there is strong evidence that the dialogues are true – to the point of justifying judicial action by its ministers, such as those adopted by Moraes. therefore the argument that conversations are invalid evidence because they are obtained illegally. “

Brazil: Enough of illegalities, says lawyer Kakay, about Dallagnol’s crimes

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BRAZILIAN NEWS AGENCY 247)

 

Enough of illegalities, says lawyer Kakay, about Dallagnol’s crimes

“It is something unbelievable, unfortunate, and that, coming out now, perplexes not only the national legal community, but the Brazilian society as a whole. There are no more possible misunderstandings. We need to react and believe that it is still possible to live in a Democratic Rule of Law, “says lawyer Antonio Carlos de Almeida Castro, Kakay, commenting on Lava Jato

(Photo: Alessandro Loyola / PSDB)

247 – Lawyer Antonio Carlos de Almeida Castro, the Kakay, strongly condemned the abuses committed by Deltan Dallagnol in the Lava Jato. “What is most serious, almost humiliating, is to see this gentleman, certainly along with his minions, daring to rise up against the wives of Ministers of the Supreme. Those Ministers who had the courage to grant decisions guaranteeing constitutional law were not only persecuted in collusion, in cronyism with part of the media, as well as their wives were investigated in an absolutely criminal and shameful manner, “he wrote. Below is the full article:

Enough!

“How long, Catilina, will you abuse our patience… do you not see that your conspiracy has been dominated by what you know? “

Cicero 

For more than three years I have been running the country denouncing the numerous abuses of the Lava Jato task force and the head of that task force, then judge Sérgio Moro, today Minister of Justice. At the time, there was relatively little echo to what I was saying because the press was contaminated. But it was interesting to note that, even with the expressive unconditional support of the press for the operation, wherever I was, my criticism was somehow heard and made people think about the enormous excesses and abuses committed by those who had then. unanimity of the country. 

I always stressed, when I was criticizing, the great importance of Operation Lava Jato, an operation that uncovered a degree of corruption capillarity that neither of us could imagine, neither investigative journalism, nor the serious Federal Police, nor the worthy prosecutor, nor criminal law. However, as we worked from the first moment in Operation, we knew there were obvious excesses that were growing day by day: the excessive use of pre-trial detentions, the destruction of an important institute that is the award-winning, the misuse of the media to press the Judiciary, the spectacularization of the criminal process and the instrumentalization of part of the Federal Prosecutor and part of the Judiciary, commanded by this former judge who intended not the Supreme Court, but the Presidency of the Republic,

I recognize, however, that there is a huge difference between everything we knew to exist and the fact that we read and heard these excesses being crystallized, materialized. Today’s story from Folha de Sao Paulo and Intercept is shocking. It is the undisputed proof that this gentleman, who was the head of Operation Lava Jato, but who served another chief, the former judge in charge of the Operation, shamefully instrumentalized the power of the Public Prosecution Service. I imagine the reaction of almost all MP members, who are serious and working within constitutional limits, when faced with the fact that a prosecutor in the first instance explicitly coordinated an investigation against a minister of the Supreme Court,

What is most serious, almost humiliating, is to see this gentleman, certainly along with his minions, daring to rise up against the wives of Ministers of the Supreme. Those ministers who had the courage to grant decisions guaranteeing constitutional law were not only persecuted in collusion with the media, but their wives were investigated in an absolutely criminal and shameful manner.

More than ever, the Supreme Court ruling is appropriate when it has halted investigations that were used with the illegal, unconstitutional and abusive use of state agencies such as COAF, IRS, as it is now clear to those who do not. they wanted to see, without a doubt: prosecutors like the one now exposed used the COAF aggressively to pursue a personal persecution, a criminal pursuit based on the personal, political interest of a chief prosecutor in the task force. What is the task force? What’s your point? Why is there a “team” that is privileged in the press, in the internal financial division of the MP? Are some prosecutors anointed by a political project? 

It is important to point out that what previously denounced, without factual proof, just by an analysis of what he knew, is now absolutely evident and is a criminal project. This task force acted violently, indiscriminately, and even inhumanly against the very high minister of the High Court, Minister Navarro, as soon as it granted favorable decisions to two companies that were investigated in Operation Lava Jato. What was glimpsed at the time is that this rotten part of the prosecution, now wide open by these recordings, put pressure on the judiciary to stop judges from being independent, to act on the judiciary, to coordinate the judiciary, to prevent the Constitution was, with the peace of mind that should be applied to judicial proceedings.

Likewise, today it is unquestionably shown that, 10 days after the decision of the President of the Supreme Court, who reasonably gave freedom to a former minister of the previous government, an internal determination to make a debauchery began. Minister Toffoli and his wife. That is inadmissible. There is no organized society that can withstand such nonsense, such folly.

Today, I imagine, even within the MP, the judiciary, the lawyers, the organized civil society, it will be difficult to find who allows this derision to continue with the Federal Constitution.

Sometimes it is necessary that we have access to the crudity of an exposed dialogue to understand the seriousness of what has been done with the Brazilian Republic. We, who are critical of the excesses, which are petitioned with arrogance in these operations, complemented by press conferences, where, without a doubt, the national media is used, not only to expose and weaken the citizen who It is being investigated with a view to a future denunciation, but also to pressure the Judiciary Power so that all coercive measures are granted, as well as to make heroes these then demigods who coordinated the Judiciary and the National Public Prosecutor.

We know that this was the result of a political project. Suffice it to see that the real Head of the Task Force, the one who coordinated Mr. Deltan, former Judge Sergio Moro, is now the Minister of Government whom he helped to elect, who was, in fact, the main electoral corporal in decreeing the arrest. of the main opponent to this demented president who today is exposed to ridicule and exposing to ridicule Brazil in front of the international forums.

I dare to draw the attention of the people, the Brazilian citizen, to the following fact: if this political group of the Public Prosecution Service and the Judiciary has the boldness to do what is being unequivocally explained with ministers of the Supreme Court, with the President Federal Supreme Court, what they will not do, and what they have not done, and what they are not doing with the Brazilian citizen, in order to achieve their political goals, their hidden goals.

Just put a stop to it, everything has a limit! The Attorney General’s Office must speak independently and remind those who dare to violate the Federal Constitution obscurely that we are still in a Democratic Rule of Law.

Perhaps the events of recent days, where the President’s innumerable verbal insanities almost made us fail to take seriously such an important institute in democracy as the Presidency of the Republic, perhaps these excesses seem to cloud the national reality. . It’s hard to be lucid in the country, it’s hard to believe in institutions when you have the top job in Brazil held by someone who ostensibly despises the Constitution, common sense, reason, decorum, and dignity. 

But this cannot cause us to close our eyes to the need to preserve other institutions, such as the Federal Public Prosecutor, to whom we owe so much, such a serious institution composed certainly of 99% of Brazilian self-sacrifices who are dedicated to complying with the Constitution; and the judiciary, which cannot be hit by this obscene saga coordinated by judges of less intellectual value, and by prosecutors of the same suit. Let us expect a reaction to the extent of so many abuses.

Mr. Deltan’s politicization reaches such an extent that he calls for interference with the Attorney General and the Supreme Court to prevent a minister from the High Court, who was being quoted by the media as a nomination for minister. Supreme Court, were to be appointed. It’s a teratological thing! 

Only in the head of a lower court prosecutor who considered himself a prosecutor for the excessive power he gained from the national media could he dare to try to prevent a ministerial name from being taken into consideration to be examined as minister of the Supreme. Especially since there was absolutely nothing against this minister, only that, in the knowledge of the car wash operation underworld, in the task force underworld, the whistleblowers and coordinators of the award-winning delegations, and the prosecutors who coordinated what mattered to the women. and what they wanted to filter into the collaborations. This is very serious!

These prosecutors had sovereign power over the judiciary, over the prosecution, and even over Brazil. They encouraged award-winning accusations against certain people, forced the whistleblowers to say the same name, conditioned the whistleblowers to speak of cyclane or beltrane so that the whistleblower agreement could advance. 

What we were talking about 3 years ago of “hearing about” today is made clear in the revelations made by Intercept and the brave Brazilian journalists who have not bowed to the pressure of a press that is still subject to this group. This is very important! They were manipulating the names that would be submitted to the Federal Supreme Court at their pleasure. A denunciation that did not really exist; which, if it existed, was not homologated, but they already assumed the owners even of the indications to the Federal Supreme Court. 

It is unbelievable, unfortunate, and that, now coming to light, perplexes not only the national legal community, but the Brazilian society as a whole. No more mischief is possible. We need to react and believe that it is still possible to live in a democratic rule of law.

Antonio Carlos de Almeida Castro, Kakay

Supreme Court clears way for Trump admin to use Defense funds for border wall

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Supreme Court clears way for Trump admin to use Defense funds for border wall construction

(CNN)The Supreme Court on Friday cleared the way for the Trump administration to use $2.5 billion from the Department of Defense to construct parts of a wall along the southwestern border that the government argues is necessary to protect national security.

The decision allows the Defense Department money to be spent now while a court battle plays out over whether the government had the authority to divert funds that were not appropriated for the wall. The Supreme Court voted 5-4, along ideological lines, to allow the funds to be used while the court appeals proceed.
In a brief order, the court said that it was ruling in favor of the Trump administration before the litigation has played out because the government had made a “sufficient showing” that the challengers did not have the legal right to bring the case.
Three members of the liberal wing of the court — Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — wrote they would have blocked the funds for now. The fourth member, Justice Stephen Breyer, wrote separately to say that he would have allowed the government to use the funds to finalize the terms for contractors but block the funds from being used for the actual construction.
The Supreme Court’s order is a significant win for Trump, who is likely to use the construction of a wall as a major talking point on the campaign trail. The President celebrated the decision in a tweet Friday evening.
“The United States Supreme Court overturns lower court injunction, allows Southern Border Wall to proceed,” the President tweeted. “Big WIN for Border Security and the Rule of Law!”
The decision overrules a lower court decision that had blocked the transfer of funds while appeals played out. A panel of judges from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to allow the use of the funds earlier in the month, holding that the challengers were likely to prevail in their case because the use of the funds “violates the constitutional requirement that the Executive Branch not spend money absent an appropriation from Congress.”
The order comes after Trump ended a 35-day government shutdown in February when Congress gave him $1.4 billion in wall funding, far less than he had sought. He subsequently declared a national emergency to get money from other government accounts to construct sections of the wall.
The $2.5 billion had been shifted from various programs including personnel and recruiting, Minuteman III and air launch cruise missiles, E-3 aircraft upgrades and the Afghan security forces training fund. The Pentagon said it was able to move that money due to uncovered cost savings as part of a process known as “reprogramming.” The money was moved into a Defense Department counter-drug account that is authorized to spend money on the construction of border barriers.
Many lawmakers slammed the decision to move the money away from those national security priorities, threatening to strip the Pentagon of its ability to move money around, something the Defense Department has acknowledged would be detrimental.
Lawyers for the government had asked the Supreme Court to step in on an emergency basis and unblock the use of the funds while legal challenges proceed in the lower courts.
Solicitor General Noel Francisco noted in court papers that the projects needed to start because the funds at issue “will no longer remain available for obligation after the fiscal year ends on September 30, 2019.” He said that the funds are necessary to permit the construction of more than 100 miles of fencing in areas the government has identified as “drug-smuggling corridors” where it has seized “thousands of pounds of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine” in recent years.
“Respondents’ interests in hiking, birdwatching, and fishing in designated drug-smuggling corridors do not outweigh the harm to the public from halting the government’s efforts to construct barriers to stanch the flow of illegal narcotics across the southern border,” Francisco argued in the papers, regarding the challenge from environmental groups.
It is a loss for critics, including the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition that argued the administration had illegally transferred the funds after Congress denied requests for more money to construct the wall. The groups argued the wall — in areas in Arizona, California and New Mexico — would harm the environment.
The ACLU, representing the groups, argued in court papers against a stay of the lower court ruling fearful of the wall’s impact on border communities.
“Issuance of a stay that would permit Defendants to immediately spend this money is not consistent with Congress’s power over the purse or with the tacit assessment by Congress that the spending would not be in the public interest,”ACLU lawyers told the court.
The ACLU slammed the decision after it was released Friday evening.
“This is not over. We will be asking the federal appeals court to expedite the ongoing appeals proceeding to halt the irreversible and imminent damage from Trump’s border wall. Border communities, the environment, and our Constitution’s separation of powers will be permanently harmed should Trump get away with pillaging military funds for a xenophobic border wall Congress denied,” said Dror Ladin, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.

5 surprising facts about the U.S. Supreme Court

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

 

5 surprising facts about the U.S. Supreme Court

Founded in 1789 as part of the United States Constitution, the U.S. Supreme Court is the highest court of the nation’s federal judiciary system. In its 230 years of existence it has been responsible for landmark court decisions such as the Loving v Virginia ban on interracial marriage, New York Times Co. v United States freedom of the press case, and Bush v Gore presidential election dispute. Here’s some curious facts about the highest court in the land that are sure to impress your friends, family, and colleagues.

The court hasn’t always had a permanent home

Credit: dkfielding / iStock

Despite the court being among the most distinguished governmental institutions, it has led somewhat of a nomadic life. The first court meetings were held in the Merchants Exchange Building in New York City, after which it moved with the National Capitol in 1790 to Philadelphia. When the Federal Government relocated to Washington, D.C., the court followed and used several chambers inside the United States Capitol. Chief Justice William Howard Taft proposed a plan for the court to have its own home in 1929 in order for it to create a distance from the United States Congress. Construction of the classical Corinthian-style landmark began in 1932 and became operational in 1935.

Only one president has sat on the court

Credit: Everett Historical / Shutterstock.com

To date, William Howard Taft is the only President of the United States that has sat on the U.S. Supreme Court. He became the 27th president in 1909 and served one term. In 1921 he was appointed the 10th Chief Justice of the United States and held the post until shortly before his death in 1930. Charles Evans Hughes, who was Taft’s successor in 1930, came close to repeating the achievement. In 1916, Hughes had resigned from his position as Associate Justice to run for the presidency against Woodrow Wilson.

You can attend an official court meeting

Credit: stock_photo_world / Shutterstock.com

Ever wondered what the chief and associate justices do on a daily basis? The courtroom has seating capacity for 300 members of the public to attend oral arguments of between 70 and 80 annual cases. You’ll have the chance to listen as justices pose questions to the case attorneys and the attorneys present information that they deem vital to a case. It is free to attend an oral argument and entry is on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you don’t have the time to listen to an entire argument then you can opt for a three-minute brief session. Here’s the lowdown on the days, etiquette, and what you need to show for entry to an oral argument.

The building has its own art collection

Credit: Attila Barabas / iStock

In 1973, Chief Justice Warren E. Burger established the Office of the Curator to preserve works of art that had been acquired since the 1830s. Today, you can see valuable objects from the collection via rotating exhibitions. Among them are decorative, fine and graphic arts, archives, memorabilia, and ephemera. There’s 19th-century judicial portraits by Cornelia Adele Fassett, such as The Florida Case before the Electoral Commission, busts of Chief Justices, the clock of lawyer Joseph Story, and records of notable women in the court’s history. Here’s a schedule of the current exhibition program.

There’s a basketball court on the building’s upper floor

Credit: BahadirTanriover / iStock

While visiting the court you might hear the squeaking of shoes and bouncing of balls coming from above. That’s because on the upper floor of the building there’s a basketball court. This former storeroom is available for Supreme Court employees and off-duty police offices. Notable court employees Byron White and William H. Rehnquist have showcased their alley-oop, dribbling, and slam dunking talents on this court over the years.

Brazil: Hypothesis is the house arrest for Lula in HC of office

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BRAZIL 247 NEWS)

 

Hypothesis is the house arrest for Lula in HC of office

In the internal war of the Federal Supreme Court, where ministers Gilmar Mendes and Carmen Lúcia duel to keep or not the case of former president Lula in the court agenda, one possibility is the granting of house arrest even without analysis of the suspicion of Sergio Moro

Gilmar says that Lula's conviction will be annulled and that Moro and Dallagnol are criminals

247 – The internal war in the Federal Supreme Court between the ministers Gilmar Mendes and Carmen Lúcia created an unusual situation around the Lula case – and it is not known if his habeas corpus petition will be tried on Tuesday, due to the suspicion of the ex – Judge Sergio Moro.

But an alternative hypothesis was published in a report in the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper on Tuesday. “It is not ruled out the possibility of the ministers discussing to grant house arrest to the Petista through a habeas corpus ex officio, that is, without there being a specific request.” Lawyers heard by the report affirm that the measure is possible, but that would be unusual , since the matter is no longer on the agenda officially.The Second Panel, however, has already granted habeas corpus ex officio to suspend the execution of the sentence of former minister José Dirceu in August of last year.

Brazil: In partnership, Folha and Intercept reveal new crimes of Moro and Dallagnol

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF BRAZIL 247 NEWS)

 

In partnership, Folha and Intercept reveal new crimes of Moro and Dallagnol

Message packet notes that Sergio Moro and Deltan Dallagnol acted in tune in the episode of the illegal clamp of former president Dilma Rousseff and former president Lula, which was leaked to the National Journal and was decisive for the coup of 2016, which opened space for the rise of the far right in Brazil

247 – “Prosecutors on the front lines of Operation Lava Jato worked together to protect Sergio Moro and prevent tensions between him and the Federal Supreme Court from paralyzing investigations at a critical time for the task force in 2016,” says the first report from the partnership between Folha de S. Paulo and The Intercept. “The objective was to prevent the disclosure of papers found by the Federal Police in the home of an Odebrecht executive to escalate the confrontation with the STF by unduly exposing dozens of politicians who were entitled to a special forum – and which could only be investigated with the authorization of the court.”

Moro and Dallagnol feared that Minister Teori Zavascki would dismantle the investigations that were under Moro’s control in Curitiba, since they reached politicians with a privileged forum. “Tremendous ball in the back of the Pf,” said Moro. “And it’s going to look like an affront.” Moro also referred to the word ‘lambança’, when referring to the error of the PF. 

“Know not only that the immense majority of society is with you, but that we will do all that is necessary to defend you from unjust accusations,” Dallagnol replied, about Moro having in his possession data on persons with a privileged forum.

In this first partnership, Folha and Intercept show that the judge must stay equidistant between prosecution and defense – and not act as one of the parties. What the messages reveal is that Moro was head of the prosecution throughout Operation Lava Jato.

Supreme Court upholds ‘double jeopardy’ standard that could blunt impact of potential Trump pardons

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE USA TODAY NEWS PAPER)

 

Supreme Court upholds ‘double jeopardy’ standard that could blunt impact of potential Trump pardons

A federal judge has sentenced former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to more than 3 1/2 additional years in prison. (March 13) AP

LINKEDIN COMMENT MORE

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court upheld Monday the ability of federal and state governments to prosecute defendants twice for the same crime – a form of double jeopardy that could come into play if President Donald Trump pardons former associates caught up in the Russian election-meddling scandal.

The case, which was heard in early December, had appeared to be an opportunity for challengers to block second prosecutions. But during oral argument, it became clear that a majority of justices were wary of letting criminals go free, possibly including some of those previously sentenced.

Associate Justice Samuel Alito wrote the 7-2 opinion, joined by three conservative and three liberal colleagues. Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Neil Gorsuch dissented.

The case had gained attention largely because of the possibility that Trump could pardon one or more of his former associates convicted in federal court by special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

More: Mueller report: Why so many of President Donald Trump’s aides lied to protect him in Russia investigations

If former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was pardoned, he still could face state prosecutions for the same crimes under the court’s precedents. That rule applies because state and federal governments are separate sovereigns.

Alito defended the court’s ruling on the basis of the Fifth Amendment, historical evidence and “170 years of precedent.”

He noted that federal and state governments often have overlapping powers that allow for two layers of regulation. Examples include taxation and rules regarding gambling, alcohol and marijuana, he said.

Ginsburg disagreed. “Different parts of the ‘WHOLE’ United States should not be positioned to prosecute a defendant a second time for the same offense,” she said.

Gorsuch, who has taken up the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia’s penchant for protecting the rights of criminal defendants, said, “A free society does not allow its government to try the same individual for the same crime until it’s happy with the result.”

The Justice Department and a coalition of 36 states had vehemently defended the status quo, which has led to successful second prosecutions after acquittals or hung juries.

It enabled Mississippi to convict Edgar Ray Killen of murdering three civil rights workers in 1964 after federal charges didn’t stick. It helped the federal government convict two Los Angeles police officers for the notorious 1991 beating of Rodney King after a county jury acquitted four officers of nearly all charges. And it helped federal officials win a guilty plea from a South Carolina police officer for the 2015 shooting death of Walter Scott, an unarmed black man, after a state jury deadlocked.

If the court were to revert to a strict rule against double jeopardy, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer said when the case was debated: “Look at the door we’re opening up.”

Two years ago, the court ruled 6-2 that Puerto Rico could not prosecute a suspect after his federal conviction because the territory, unlike states, derived its power from the United States. At the time, Ginsburg and Associate Justice Clarence Thomas suggested that the court consider a similar approach for all levels of government.

The case was brought on behalf of Terance Gamble, who received a one-year prison sentence in Alabama but nearly four years in federal court for the same firearms offense in 2015. Two lower courts upheld the sentences, citing Supreme Court precedent.

Although the terms are running concurrently, Gamble won’t be released until next year. Had the federal government been barred from a second prosecution, he would be free.

Groups on Gamble’s side argued that the double jeopardy clause prevents abuse by prosecutors. They said it helps in obtaining plea bargains, because defendants cannot hope for a second trial.

Nearly half the states already have bars against double jeopardy. That means state prosecutors would need to cite different charges to try Manafort or other former Trump associates already convicted in federal court.

Supreme Court leaves intact block on Indiana abortion restriction, but allows fetal burial to go into effect

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Supreme Court leaves intact block on Indiana abortion restriction, but allows fetal burial to go into effect

Washington (CNN)The Supreme Court said Tuesday that a provision of an Indiana law which said the state may prohibit abortions motivated solely by race, sex or disability should remain blocked.

The court, however, did say it would allow part of the law that requires clinics to bury or cremate fetal remains to take effect.
The fact that the court decided not to take up the more controversial provision of the Indiana law suggests that there is not a current appetite on the court to move aggressively to question the court’s core abortion precedents of Roe v. Wade and Casey v. Planned Parenthood. Still, supporters of abortion rights will be disappointed and worried that the justices allowed the fetal tissue provision to go into effect.
The law was signed in March 2016 by then-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. It was blocked last yearfrom going into effect by the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals.
In his decision last year, Judge William Bauer wrote that provisions in the law that bar women from seeking abortions in certain cases “clearly violate” what he described as “well-established Supreme Court precedent, and are therefore, unconstitutional.”
Justice Clarence Thomas agreed that the court was right not to take up the provision at this time, but said justices “soon need to confront” the issue.
“Although the Court declines to wade into these issues today, we cannot avoid them forever,” Thomas wrote. “Having created the constitutional right to an abortion, this court is duty bound to address its scope. In that regard, it is easy to understand why the District Court and the Seventh Circuit looked to Casey to resolve a question it did not address. Where else could they turn? The Constitution itself is silent on abortion.”
But Thomas’s writing doesn’t mean the court will immediately take up the large issue, said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law.
“Although Justice Thomas argues that the court will soon have to take up the issue it ducked today, I think it’s telling that none of the other conservative justices — John Roberts, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh — joined his separate opinion,” Vladeck said.
“It’s quite possible that Thomas’s opinion is therefore less a prediction of where the court is likely to go than an aspiration,” Vladeck added. “At least for now, the rest of the conservatives don’t seem eager to jump into this sensitive political thicket.”

Fetal remains

Thomas also wrote to express his support for the provision of the law that requires fetal remains be buried or cremated.
“I would have thought it could go without saying that nothing in the Constitution or any decision of this Court prevents a State from requiring abortion facilities to provide for the respectful treatment of human remains,” he wrote.
Indiana’s law requires that fetal remains be disposed of the same way as other human remains (i.e. burial and cremation). A separate provision says that the state can prohibit abortion that is solely motivated by the race, sex, or disability of the fetus.
The law has been blocked from going into effect by lower courts.
In court papers, Curtis Hill Jr., Indiana’s attorney general, said the language “expands on long-established legal and cultural traditions of recognizing the dignity and humanity of the fetus.”
This story is breaking and will be updated.

No One Has THE RIGHT TO COMMIT MURDER

(No One Has The RIGHT TO COMMIT MURDER)

 

Because of some southern states and because of Republicans abortion is once again in the national news. I am going to put two thoughts out to you on this issue. One view will be from a ‘religion’ viewpoint and the other from a person who is chastising the Supreme Court. As a person of faith I believe that once a heartbeat starts, it is murder to stop it. No one has the ‘right’ to kill little babies, no one! If a person gets into an auto accident and kills a pregnant lady they get charged with killing two people. This is an issue that must only be one way, if a fetus has no rights then you are considering the baby to be nothing, if it does have rights then it is a living child.

 

The Supreme Court of the United States has only one main job and that is to honor the Nation’s Constitution. When a case comes before that Court the only thing their job is is to decide if the law before them is Constitutional, or not. I personally disagree with several decisions handed down by the Supreme Court yet when a decision is made by the Court as to if something is Constitutional or not it should never be overturned by a later Court. When you are having to count how many Republicans or how many Democrats are sitting on that Bench then our whole Constitution and our Democracy are at a grave risk. If a Supreme Court has done their Constitutional duty to the people of our country then the laws they say yes or no too should be final and never be overturned by a later set of Justices. Political viewpoints have no place among any of the Chief Justices. Do I personally agree with or like the Roe versus Wade decision in 1973, no, I don’t but if it was Constitutional in 1973, it is still Constitutional today and tomorrow.

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