Biden Administration Gears Up To Impose Double Jeopardy Upon Officer Chauvin
02/25/2021
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From the New York Times news section:

With New Grand Jury, Justice Department Revives Investigation Into Death of George Floyd

As the state murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the former officer charged in the death of George Floyd, approaches, the federal government has accelerated its own investigation.

By Tim Arango and Katie Benner
Feb. 23, 2021

A new federal grand jury has been empaneled in Minneapolis and the Justice Department has called new witnesses as part of its investigation of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who will go on trial in state court next month on a murder charge for the death of George Floyd, according to two people with direct knowledge of the investigation.

The fresh slate of witnesses subpoenaed to give testimony about Mr. Chauvin is an early sign that the federal investigation into the death of Mr. Floyd, which began last year and then languished, is being reinvigorated under the administration of President Biden.

It is unlikely that the Justice Department, in presenting evidence to a new grand jury, is hoping for a quick indictment of Mr. Chauvin before his state trial, which is scheduled to begin March 8. But if there was an acquittal or a mistrial, attention would immediately shift to the federal investigation, and to whether Mr. Chauvin would face trial for violating Mr. Floyd’s civil rights. …

As The New York Times recently reported, three days after Mr. Floyd died on May 25, Mr. Chauvin was ready to plead guilty to third-degree murder and go to prison for more than a decade.

This leak, which perhaps came from Minnesota attorney general Keith Ellison’s office, was a pretty bad abuse of the Constitution’s promise of an “impartial jury.”

By the way, it wasn’t until June that the autopsy revealed that George Floyd died loaded with a potentially lethal level of fentanyl.

But the offer fell apart after Mr. Barr, at the last minute, rejected the deal, which had been contingent on the Justice Department’s agreement not to bring additional federal charges in the future.

You can’t even get your Constitutional right to be protected from double jeopardy through a plea deal.

The Constitution reads “nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.” They don’t chop people’s limbs off too much anymore outside of Araby, so that has been generalized to mean that nobody shall be tried twice for the same crime.

Likewise, much of the literal language of the Constitution, such as “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…”, originally didn’t apply to states. Connecticut, for example, had a state religion, Congregationalism, into the 19th Century. But overtime, constitutional rights were generalized to apply to states. For example, Wikipedia explains:

Although the Fifth Amendment initially applied only to the federal government, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the double jeopardy clause applies to the states as well through incorporation by the Fourteenth Amendment.

On the other hand, the federal Constitution's ban on double jeopardy does not, curiously enough, apply to the federal government when it really feels like imposing double jeopardy on somebody who was acquitted in a state trial, such as the LAPD cops in the Rodney King case.

Now, yeah, sure, there are legalistic reasons for why trying an unpopular policeman first in state court, then overriding his acquittal with a trial for the exact same incident in federal court could be said, technically, not to be double jeopardy. But, c’mon, if these transparent obfuscations to get around the double jeopardy ban were being used against a class of person more popular with the higher courts, such as pornographers or flag burners, the Supreme Court would long ago have declared them unconstitutional.

[Comment at Unz.com]
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