So....a sitting US President cannot be indicted ?

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  #1  
Old 12-04-18, 09:49 PM
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So....a sitting US President cannot be indicted ?

So says the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. Dunno about that.

No names mentioned of course......... A President gets so mad at his nagging wife that he strangles her to death. (In the White House or away). Aides, Secret Service, maids, etc., all rush in because of the commotion. He is caught red-handed.

Various police agencies are called and President is led away to.........where? White House physician's office ? A "time out" room ? Comfortable locked room ? Local jail ?

Later on, SOMETHING has to be done. Can he be charged with a crime or indicted by a Grand Jury?

Or do we wait until his term is up and THEN bring charges....as the OLC says ?
 
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  #2  
Old 12-04-18, 10:31 PM
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Mr. Trump, is that you? You're not fooling anyone
 
  #3  
Old 12-05-18, 04:48 AM
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Not to make this into a political forum, but political figures are held to a different standard. Unwritten rules apply. Make's little difference on which side you back. And the higher the office the "better" the standards.

Bill and Hillary, are you listening?

PS...I had to put that in there for no better reason than Mossman did it first!
 
  #4  
Old 12-05-18, 05:16 AM
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Maybe I should just google this but, for the benefit of the thread, I'll just ask here.
I turned 13 in '72. Richard Nixon was pardoned by Gerald Ford when Nixon resigned over Watergate. Was he charged or indicted in that? The reason I ask, Ford pardoned him just minutes after being sworn into office. I just assume he was indicted or at least charged for him to be pardoned. If not, what was he pardoned from? To prevent him from being charged/indicted?

I just assumed a sitting president could be indicted.
 
  #5  
Old 12-05-18, 05:46 AM
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If I remember correctly, Nixon was never indicted and the pardon was mainly to prevent any future indictment.
 
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Old 12-05-18, 06:25 AM
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What I find interesting is there is definition of an impeachable offense. It is whatever Congress decides it should be. So, if Congress is of your political party it's much less likely you will face impeachment. Same offense committed by someone of the other party could have a very different outcome. Talk about "it's all who you know".
 
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Old 12-05-18, 07:06 AM
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Mark is correct, it was pre-emptive.

"High crimes and misdemeanors" has always been open to interpretation.

FWIW [not aimed at you, PD; I'm sure you know], there's a difference between "impeach" and "convict". Plenty of people think Mr. Trump should be impeached by the incoming democrat-controlled House, but it'll never fly in the republican-controlled senate. Would only serve as obstructionism on the part of the democrats.

On the other hand, tying up the federal government in silly inter-party politics would keep them all from screwing up other things in the country.
 
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Old 12-05-18, 08:03 AM
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I was trying to posit a criminal act, not a political act. So....a President is at Camp David....has been hitting the sauce all day...gets on his motorcycle and runs down a small child and nanny, going 103 mph. Both dead. President is bruised but otherwise fine.

Now what ?
 
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Old 12-05-18, 08:05 AM
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On the other hand, tying up the federal government in silly inter-party politics would keep them all from screwing up other things in the country
But when the 2 parties spend all their time fighting each other it leaves little time for them to do what they were elected to do
 
  #10  
Old 12-06-18, 03:59 AM
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Yadda Yadda, presumably he (or SHE) is out on bond until next inauguration day and then he does the perp walk. The initial arrest would be interesting from a purely academic standpoint.

Mark, what we elect them to do and what they spend all their time doing are two different things. In the case of the House, they spend about half their time working on getting re-elected in two years (other than the ones who represent solid blue or solid red districts where their re-elections are basically until death).
 
  #11  
Old 12-06-18, 06:44 AM
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Yes, the arrest process would be interesting. Guess the county Sheriff would have to plow thru the Secret Service to do this. $800 hour lawyers are circling the scene. Probably there would be a bail hearing..... and wait for the local DA to file charges.

Does this go to a Grand Jury for an indictment ?
 
  #12  
Old 12-06-18, 06:59 AM
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Unless it's waived with a guilty plea don't all cases go before a grand jury before being set for trial?
 
  #13  
Old 12-06-18, 07:38 AM
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Since the president would need to be impeached before any legal action could occur this would add quite a delay and would cause a major constitutional crises.

Let's hope we never find out how this works.
 
  #14  
Old 12-06-18, 08:37 AM
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Speaking in broad generalizations, felonies will go before a grand jury; misdemeanors do not have to, and usually don't, although the government may be able to seek a direct indictment by a grand jury on a misdemeanor charge. Specific procedures vary by jurisdiction.

In your example of a traffic crash, YaddaYadda, I think it's very unlikely a police officer would arrest the President on the side of the road. In many criminal cases, it frequently happens that information is taken, further investigation is conducted, and charges are filed at a later date. During that investigation time is when the police chief, prosecutor, DOJ, and everybody else would be arguing about whether charges can even be filed against a president.

Also, for clarification, there wouldn't be a bail hearing while waiting for the DA to file charges, because one must be arrested for there to be a bail hearing, and one cannot be arrested without charges. Charges may be added, dropped, or amended following arrest, but when a person is arrested, there is an offense that they are charged with at that time. The nature of that offense plays into the bail hearing. You may get released on your own recognizance if you were drunk in public. Not so much if you were arrested for premeditated murder.
 
  #15  
Old 12-06-18, 10:28 AM
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Super S....in my hypothetical drama, a President was legally drunk (he was hitting the sauce all day).

He should/could be arrested on the spot for killing two people ? Tested at the scene...or later on at the station.
 
  #16  
Old 12-06-18, 11:44 AM
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I apologize, I apparently glanced over the fact that it was a DUI. You're creating a very tricky hypothetical, in part because DUI laws around the country vary with their procedures and requirements. Generally, yes, for various reasons, an arrest is necessary to start the ball rolling, invoke implied consent statutes, and take the accused for breath or blood testing. Additional charges, like vehicular homicide, could be added after the crash investigation concludes.

The problem with a President is, I highly doubt the Secret Service would allow a President to be taken into custody by another agency, because it's very difficult for them to do their job of protecting him then. (It would also have been a huge screw-up that they let the President get away from them in the first place, but that's besides the point.)

It's also very tricky, because there's no precedent for such an event, or for trying to charge a President in that manner. The laws and procedures for how a DUI is investigated, charged, etc. just weren't written considering that eventuality. The closest comparison I can think of is diplomatic immunity, where a person with full immunity may not be detained, arrested, or prosecuted. In the case of a DUI, they could volunteer to submit to tests, but cannot be compelled. Essentially, if a diplomat is drunk and kills two people, they can get a ride home. Even if they submit to testing, they cannot be prosecuted unless their country waives immunity.

With regard to the President, it's a situation that, without a doubt, has supervisors being notified all the way to the top. The Police Chief, Director of the Secret Service, the local top prosecutor, probably the US Attorney General, and a whole bunch of other people who I don't envy, are getting woken up with phone calls in the middle of the night and starting a very, very, very bad day. And by the time it's even decided if they can make the President do a breath test, he/she has probably sobered up hours, if not days ago.

Editing to add: Going back to the start of the thread, the DOJ says the President cannot be indicted. Nothing that I'm aware of says he/she can't be investigated. The tricky part with DUI is that the investigation occurs both on scene, with observations, field sobriety tests, and a portable breath test. It then continues with an evidentiary breath test, or a blood draw. To get to the latter parts of the investigation, an arrest is first made for DUI. Because misdemeanors don't go before a grand jury, there's no technical "indictment." So then, for DUI, can the President be investigated, arrested, charged, but just can't continue to trial? I really don't have an answer for that one. In the specific case of the DUI crash, the powers-that-be may decide to forego the DUI arrest component of the whole event, but document their findings as to the President's intoxication, and further investigate the crash for any applicable criminal charges to potentially be filed at a later date -- whenever that might be.

Just my opinion. Not a lawyer, and most certainly not the President's lawyer, and most super-certainly not a drunk motorcycle-riding President's lawyer.
 

Last edited by SuperSquirrel; 12-06-18 at 12:05 PM.
  #17  
Old 12-06-18, 12:36 PM
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Thanks, S.S. (Oh, what a tangled web we weave.....when first we practice to deceive)
 
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Old 12-06-18, 03:48 PM
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Let's hope we never find out how this works.
Amen to that.
 
  #19  
Old 12-06-18, 05:55 PM
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OK......I will drop this for now. The subtext was: No One is Above the Law.

Including me. I am known around the house as King Pedro !! and DW acts the part of Dear Leader.
 
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