Criminal law

Responding to the New Judge’s Question Regarding Mark Meadows’ Removal of the Georgia Indictment | Dennis Aftergot | verdict


On Tuesday, Federal District Court Judge Steve C. Jones Command Fulton County District Attorney Fanny Willis and defendant Mark Meadows, former chief of staff to President Donald Trump, will give supplemental briefings, by late Thursday, on a case pivotal to resolving Meadows’ claim that his Georgia trial should be heard in federal court.

Judge Jones Requested The parties’ opinions on whether “a finding that at least one (but not all) of the overt acts occurred under the color of Meadow’s office (would) be sufficient to have a federal lawsuit dismissed under (Federal Takedown Act)”.

The issue at issue in the removal process in the first place is whether Meadows can prove that he is indicted for actions he took as part of his duties as a federal official.

At the risk of oversimplification, one should not lose sight of the obvious.

If a grand jury indictment alleges that one former federal official committed an act within his or her proper governmental role and another group did not, justice will be served by allowing the weight of the alleged unofficial acts to determine the court in which the official should appear. Try.

Otherwise we would have, in effect, a hair on the tail wagging a dog of federal removal.

It seems clear from the court’s question that there is no oversight body on the matter. When there is one, the judges generally direct the parties to a key issue and how to apply it.

Thus the question for the judge is how to decide – what criterion to use – in the absence of clarity from immediate precedent on this point.

idea to usetotality of circumstancesThe test to determine the decision continues to reverberate in the head of the former federal prosecutor. This standard comes from other federal criminal law contexts where courts focus on the big picture of facts, rather than on one or two factors, to solve legal problems involving competing societal purposes.

Here, the totality of the circumstances shows that Meadows acted outside his governmental authority in one act after another, perhaps with one exception. He broke the law in six of Seven alleged “public acts”. In the grand jury’s indictment, the substance of the charges against him. (Meadows has to reject that he was involved in one alleged public act and that another mischaracterized the Georgian official who sent him a letter.)

The issue of removal greatly concerns both sides. Among other reasons, Meadows is looking for A more appropriate jury group in Federal Court and there may be delays after the claim is transferred to Federal Court.

For the opposite reasons, Willis is seeking to “return” the case to state court or send it back again. And as far as possible, she wants her case against the accused defendants We tried together On the same forum.

The first criminal law context in which the Supreme Court applied the “total of circumstances” test falls under the Fourth Amendment. Courts use this standard to determine whether an affidavit warrants a search or seizure because there is probable cause to believe a person may have committed a crime.

in Illinois vs. Gates, The Supreme Court has replaced a more stringent test of all circumstances, describing it as a “flexible and easy-to-apply standard” that allows for a “pragmatic and reasoned decision”.

The Court stated that it was important “to achieve the reconciliation of public and private interests required by the Fourth Amendment”—the community’s interest in the proper implementation of the law without unreasonably interfering with expectations of privacy.

The second context is in dealing with contested Fifth Amendment rights in resolving disputes over whether defendants’ confessions are voluntary. In arguing its cases on the subject, the Court said 50 years ago that it “reflects a careful examination of the issues of all surrounding conditionsinstead of “turning to whether or not there is a single standard.”

Here again, the Court emphasized the importance of applying a test that takes into account the entire context of conduct as a means of achieving an appropriate balance between competing social interests: on the one hand, “the need for police questioning as a tool for the effective enforcement of criminal acts”. laws”, and on the other hand, “society’s deep belief that criminal law cannot be used as an instrument of injustice”.

As in those constitutional contexts, federal removal here involves accommodating competing legal and social values—Congress’ goal of protecting federal officials from unfair prosecution in the state versus “strong judicial policy.” against the imposition of “extraordinary burdens”. over the states.”

The best way to achieve this adjustment, as the Court has told us on other occasions, is to look at the big picture, weigh all the facts about the defendant’s actions, and not focus on any single action. As a matter of “common practical sense,” a court judge such as Justice Jones can decide whether the totality of the behavior of federal officials supports a finding that they were acting within or outside the scope of their duties.

Think about this hypothetically why it doesn’t make sense to allow federal officials to overturn state prosecutions because they acted right in one instance in a series of overt acts in furtherance of a criminal enterprise.

Suppose that, after the 2020 election, Trump delegates to Meadows the responsibility of convening a meeting with the attorneys who have filed 60 national cases on behalf of the Trump campaign confirming sufficient ballot fraud for the courts to order a new election.

Then suppose that when those measures failed, Meadows committed 10 conspiratorial acts aimed at forcing Vice President Mike Pence to do the illegal thing, which is to refuse to certify Joe Biden’s electoral victory.

It wouldn’t make sense to allow Meadows to overturn the state’s prosecution of those actions because of a single legal action that preceded it. Even if the official is alleged to have participated in one or two additional official actions among a larger number of actions outside the scope of his role and of criminal significance, the result must be the same.

In the Meadows case, Judge Jones’ question indicates that he found that all but one of Meadows’ alleged public actions were taken to further the criminal enterprise’s illegal aim of defeating the will of Georgia’s voters.

If so, the broad direction and course of Meadows’ alleged conduct was beyond “external Ocean“One of the responsibilities of the White House Chief of Staff.

Judge Jones must find that the totality of the circumstances is inconsistent with Meadows’ right to trial in federal court. His case must be transferred to state court.


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