US Supreme Court Appears Wary of Expanding ‘Double Jeopardy’

U.S. Supreme Court justices on Thursday expressed skepticism about putting limits on criminal charges being brought against people for the same offenses by both federal and state prosecutors in a case involving an Alabama man charged with illegally possessing a gun.

Depending on how the court rules, the case could have implications for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and any coordination between Moscow and Republican Donald Trump’s campaign.

A ruling against the government could limit the ability of states to bring charges against anyone charged by Mueller whom Trump might pardon. The president has not ruled out pardoning his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was convicted on tax and bank fraud charges.

The court appeared divided on non-ideological lines, but a majority seemed concerned about the practical implications of overturning longstanding precedent allowing for parallel state and federal prosecutions. A ruling is due by the end of June.

Some of the justices, including conservative Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch and liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg, appeared more worried about vindicating the individual rights of defendants.

Gorsuch also noted that in recent years the number of federal crimes has ballooned meaning it is possible for the Justice Department to launch a second prosecution “if it’s unhappy with even the most routine state prosecution.”

Trump’s other appointee to the nine-justice court, conservative Brett Kavanaugh, questioned whether there were strong enough arguments to justify ending the practice, saying that the lawyers for defendant Terance Gamble would have to show the precedent is “grievously wrong.”

“Given … the uncertainty over the history, can you clear that bar?” he asked Gamble’s lawyer, Louis Chaiten.

Gamble, 29, was prosecuted in Alabama for possessing marijuana and for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm after the vehicle he was driving in Mobile was stopped by police in 2015.

While those charges were pending, the federal government charged Gamble under a U.S. law that criminalizes the possession of a firearm by a felon.

Gamble challenged the federal prosecution, saying it violated his rights under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to be free of “double jeopardy,” which is the legal principle that people cannot be charged twice for the same offense.

Under longstanding precedent, separate prosecutions under state and federal law have not been viewed as implicating double jeopardy because the United States and individual states are deemed to be separate sovereign governments.

Among the concerns raised by Justice Department lawyer Eric Feigin during the argument is that a ruling against dual state and federal prosecutions would also apply to people who have previously been prosecuted overseas.

As examples of people who could potentially avoid prosecution in U.S. courts were the court to rule for Gamble, he cited rebels in Colombia who kidnapped three Americans in 2003 and held them captive for five years.

Feigin said a ruling against the government could also hamper federal civil rights prosecutions. He noted that the federal government has brought civil rights-related charges against Robert Bowers, the man charged with killing 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue in October. Bowers has also been charged by local prosecutors.

Gamble is serving a three year and ten-month prison sentence for the federal charge and is due to be released in February 2020. Gamble would have served a one-year prison sentence for the state charges, to which he had pleaded guilty.

US Supreme Court Appears Wary of Expanding ‘Double Jeopardy’

U.S. Supreme Court justices on Thursday expressed skepticism about putting limits on criminal charges being brought against people for the same offenses by both federal and state prosecutors in a case involving an Alabama man charged with illegally possessing a gun.

Depending on how the court rules, the case could have implications for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and any coordination between Moscow and Republican Donald Trump’s campaign.

A ruling against the government could limit the ability of states to bring charges against anyone charged by Mueller whom Trump might pardon. The president has not ruled out pardoning his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was convicted on tax and bank fraud charges.

The court appeared divided on non-ideological lines, but a majority seemed concerned about the practical implications of overturning longstanding precedent allowing for parallel state and federal prosecutions. A ruling is due by the end of June.

Some of the justices, including conservative Trump appointee Neil Gorsuch and liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg, appeared more worried about vindicating the individual rights of defendants.

Gorsuch also noted that in recent years the number of federal crimes has ballooned meaning it is possible for the Justice Department to launch a second prosecution “if it’s unhappy with even the most routine state prosecution.”

Trump’s other appointee to the nine-justice court, conservative Brett Kavanaugh, questioned whether there were strong enough arguments to justify ending the practice, saying that the lawyers for defendant Terance Gamble would have to show the precedent is “grievously wrong.”

“Given … the uncertainty over the history, can you clear that bar?” he asked Gamble’s lawyer, Louis Chaiten.

Gamble, 29, was prosecuted in Alabama for possessing marijuana and for being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm after the vehicle he was driving in Mobile was stopped by police in 2015.

While those charges were pending, the federal government charged Gamble under a U.S. law that criminalizes the possession of a firearm by a felon.

Gamble challenged the federal prosecution, saying it violated his rights under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to be free of “double jeopardy,” which is the legal principle that people cannot be charged twice for the same offense.

Under longstanding precedent, separate prosecutions under state and federal law have not been viewed as implicating double jeopardy because the United States and individual states are deemed to be separate sovereign governments.

Among the concerns raised by Justice Department lawyer Eric Feigin during the argument is that a ruling against dual state and federal prosecutions would also apply to people who have previously been prosecuted overseas.

As examples of people who could potentially avoid prosecution in U.S. courts were the court to rule for Gamble, he cited rebels in Colombia who kidnapped three Americans in 2003 and held them captive for five years.

Feigin said a ruling against the government could also hamper federal civil rights prosecutions. He noted that the federal government has brought civil rights-related charges against Robert Bowers, the man charged with killing 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue in October. Bowers has also been charged by local prosecutors.

Gamble is serving a three year and ten-month prison sentence for the federal charge and is due to be released in February 2020. Gamble would have served a one-year prison sentence for the state charges, to which he had pleaded guilty.

US: Russia Must Scrap or Alter Missiles that Violate Arms Treaty

Russia must scrap its 9M729 nuclear-capable cruise missiles and launchers or modify the weapons’ range to return to compliance with a key Cold War-era arms control treaty and avert a U.S. pullout from the pact, a senior U.S. official said Thursday.

“Either you rid the system, rid the launcher or change the system where it doesn’t exceed the range” in a verifiable manner, said U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson.

On Tuesday, the United States announced it was giving Russia 60 days to end what Washington charges is the missiles’ violation of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or it would begin the process of a U.S. withdrawal from the pact.

U.S. Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman, who briefed reporters with Thompson, said that a U.S. withdrawal from the treaty “does not mean we are walking away from arms control.”

“We remain committed to arms control, but we need a reliable partner and do not have one in Russia on INF or for that matter on other treaties that it’s violating,” Huntsman said.

Moscow denies that the missile, which U.S. officials say can hit European targets with nuclear or conventional warheads, violates the INF Treaty. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday warned that Russia would develop missiles banned by the accord if the United States exits the pact.

The United States and its European allies charge that what Moscow calls the 9M729 Novator cruise missile — designated the SSC8 by the NATO Western security alliance — breaches the treaty’s range limit of 500 to 5,000 km (310 to 3,420 miles).

The treaty also bans the production and testing of missiles with such ranges and their launchers.

US Priest Accused of Abusing Altar Boys in Philippines 

Philippine immigration authorities say they have arrested an American Roman Catholic priest accused of sexually assaulting altar boys in a remote central town in a case one official described as “shocking and appalling.” 

 

Bureau of Immigration spokeswoman Dana Sandoval said Thursday that the Rev. Kenneth Bernard Hendricks, who has been indicted in Ohio for alleged illicit sexual conduct in the Philippines, was arrested in a church in Naval on the island province of Biliran. 

 

Each of the 50 counts is punishable by up to 30 years in prison upon conviction, U.S. Attorney Benjamin Glassman said Thursday at a news conference in Cincinnati. 

 

Federal court records do not show an attorney for Hendricks who could comment on the charges. 

Ohio warrant

 

An Ohio court had issued a warrant for the arrest of Hendricks, 77, who has been living in the Philippines for 37 years, Sandoval said, adding that the U.S. criminal case stemmed from complaints from Filipino minors who were allegedly victimized in the Philippines. 

 

There was no immediate reaction from the U.S. Embassy, Philippine Catholic Church officials or Hendricks, who was flown to Manila and detained in an immigration cell. 

 

In a case Sandoval described as “both shocking and appalling,” the suspect allegedly abused victims who served mostly as altar boys in Naval.  

Glassman said they believe Hendricks lived with multiple boys and molested victims both alone and with others at his residence. Victims told investigators that Hendricks would kiss them, touch their genitals and initiate oral and anal sex. One reported more than 40 sexual encounters with the local parish priest. 

“The victims were in his house and the abuses were committed while he was taking a bath with each of them,” Sandoval said by telephone. U.S. authorities provided information about the alleged sexual assaults to the Philippine government, she said. 

 

The victims were reportedly warned they would be locked up in jail if they told anyone about the abuses, she said. 

 

Glassman said 10 people had come forward with their statements. Of the five interviewed, the youngest was 7 years old at the start of the alleged abuse.  

The U.S. Embassy may revoke Hendricks’ passport to help Philippine authorities immediately deport the priest, the immigration bureau said in a statement. 

 

Hendricks is “a fugitive from justice that poses a risk to public safety and security,” Sandoval said. “We will not allow sexual predators to prey on our children. People like him must be kicked out and banned from the Philippines.” 

 

Glassman said that he wants to prosecute the case in Ohio, but his office is still coordinating with Philippine officials to determine which jurisdiction will proceed first. 

Others abused?

 

He added there’s reason to believe others have been abused by Hendricks, whose travel records show he returns to the U.S. for several months each year. Glassman said Hendricks has a residence in the Cincinnati area.  

  

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati listed Kendricks as a “missionary in Asia” on its website, but has since issued a statement saying he “is not, nor has ever been, a priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.” 

 

Steve Francis, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Michigan and Ohio, pleaded with other apparent victims to come forward. He said the allegations against a man he described as holding “one of the highest positions of public trust” were very disturbing. 

 

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly lashed out at the dominant Catholic Church and its priests over such abuses, saying he himself along with other students were sexually molested by an American priest in high school. 

 

In separate speeches Wednesday, the volatile leader claimed almost 90 percent of Catholic priests were homosexual, and he also urged Catholics to “kill your bishops. They are useless fools. All they do is criticize.”  

  

“I’m telling you, the most hypocritical institution in the entire Philippines is the Catholic Church, and the pope knows that,” Duterte said. 

 

A Catholic priest and Duterte critic, Amado Picardal, said the president’s remarks on the church may be aimed at diverting public attention from his widely criticized deadly war on drugs, the government’s failure to stop the smuggling of illegal drugs into the country, continuing poverty, corruption and other issues. 

 

He said Duterte may also feel threatened by the Catholic Church, which played a role in the ouster of two Philippine presidents, including the 1986 overthrow of dictator Ferdinand Marcos. 

 

“Many people believe that his controversial statements are simply a way of diverting the people’s attention from the real issues raised against him,” Picardal said. 

Угорщина запевнила, що не видає і не видаватиме українцям своїх паспортів – Клімкін

Угорщина запевнила, що не видає і не видаватиме українцям своїх паспортів, заявив міністр закордонних справ України Павло Клімкін.

«Вони кажуть, що не видають зараз цих паспортів і не будуть. Це вже добре, оскільки я пам’ятаю, коли він казав (міністр закордонних справ Угорщини Петер Сійярто – ред.), що видача угорських паспортів на нашій території не суперечить українським законам. Зараз це за визначенням закінчилося», – сказав Клімкін.

У середині вересня було поширене відео, на якому в одному із закарпатських консульств Угорщини видають угорські паспорти українським громадянам. Це призвело до загострення у відносинах між Україною так Угорщиною.

Угорщина запевнила, що не видає і не видаватиме українцям своїх паспортів – Клімкін

Угорщина запевнила, що не видає і не видаватиме українцям своїх паспортів, заявив міністр закордонних справ України Павло Клімкін.

«Вони кажуть, що не видають зараз цих паспортів і не будуть. Це вже добре, оскільки я пам’ятаю, коли він казав (міністр закордонних справ Угорщини Петер Сійярто – ред.), що видача угорських паспортів на нашій території не суперечить українським законам. Зараз це за визначенням закінчилося», – сказав Клімкін.

У середині вересня було поширене відео, на якому в одному із закарпатських консульств Угорщини видають угорські паспорти українським громадянам. Це призвело до загострення у відносинах між Україною так Угорщиною.

Трьом пораненим українським морякам у «Матроській тиші» передали листи від батьків

Трьом пораненим українським морякам, які знаходяться у московському СІЗО «Матроська тиша», 6 грудня передали листи від батьків. Про це повідомила російська журналістка Вікторія Івлєва, публікуючи відповідь системи листування російської Федеральної служби виконання покарань.

«Адміністрація закладу СІЗО-1 «Матроська тиша» повідомляє вам, що лист 2229448 пройшов цензуру та вручений адресату 6 грудня 2018 року», – зазначається у повідомленні.

4 грудня Івлєва повідомляла, що листи морякам не віддають.

Міністр закордонних справ України Павло Клімкін повідомив, що українські консули відвідують поранених моряків у столиці Росії Москві,

25 листопада російські прикордонники у Керченській протоці відкрили вогонь по трьох українських кораблях і захопили їх і екіпажі. Підконтрольні Кремлю суди у Криму арештували 24 моряків на два місяці. Зараз вони перебувають у Москві. Українська влада визнає їх військовополоненими, як то визначає міжнародне право.

Країни Заходу засудили дії Росії. В Євросоюзі закликали до «стриманості і деескалації», а генеральний секретар НАТО Єнс Столтенберґ оприлюднив заяву з вимогою до Росії звільнити військовополонених і захоплені кораблі.

Трьом пораненим українським морякам у «Матроській тиші» передали листи від батьків

Трьом пораненим українським морякам, які знаходяться у московському СІЗО «Матроська тиша», 6 грудня передали листи від батьків. Про це повідомила російська журналістка Вікторія Івлєва, публікуючи відповідь системи листування російської Федеральної служби виконання покарань.

«Адміністрація закладу СІЗО-1 «Матроська тиша» повідомляє вам, що лист 2229448 пройшов цензуру та вручений адресату 6 грудня 2018 року», – зазначається у повідомленні.

4 грудня Івлєва повідомляла, що листи морякам не віддають.

Міністр закордонних справ України Павло Клімкін повідомив, що українські консули відвідують поранених моряків у столиці Росії Москві,

25 листопада російські прикордонники у Керченській протоці відкрили вогонь по трьох українських кораблях і захопили їх і екіпажі. Підконтрольні Кремлю суди у Криму арештували 24 моряків на два місяці. Зараз вони перебувають у Москві. Українська влада визнає їх військовополоненими, як то визначає міжнародне право.

Країни Заходу засудили дії Росії. В Євросоюзі закликали до «стриманості і деескалації», а генеральний секретар НАТО Єнс Столтенберґ оприлюднив заяву з вимогою до Росії звільнити військовополонених і захоплені кораблі.

Українські консули відвідують поранених моряків у Москві – Клімкін

Українські консули відвідують поранених українських моряків у столиці Росії Москві, повідомив міністр закордонних справ України Павло Клімкін.

«Саме зараз наші консули зустрічаються з пораненими хлопцями, з трьома, і потім кожен день будуть зустрічатися з іншими – щоби до суботи консули переконалися, в якому вони стані», – сказав Клімкін.

25 листопада російські прикордонники у Керченській протоці відкрили вогонь по трьох українських кораблях і захопили їх і екіпажі. Підконтрольні Кремлю суди у Криму арештували 24 моряків на два місяці. Зараз вони перебувають у Москві. Українська влада визнає їх військовополоненими, як то визначає міжнародне право.

Країни Заходу засудили дії Росії. В Євросоюзі закликали до «стриманості і деескалації», а генеральний секретар НАТО Єнс Столтенберґ оприлюднив заяву з вимогою до Росії звільнити військовополонених і захоплені кораблі.

Українські консули відвідують поранених моряків у Москві – Клімкін

Українські консули відвідують поранених українських моряків у столиці Росії Москві, повідомив міністр закордонних справ України Павло Клімкін.

«Саме зараз наші консули зустрічаються з пораненими хлопцями, з трьома, і потім кожен день будуть зустрічатися з іншими – щоби до суботи консули переконалися, в якому вони стані», – сказав Клімкін.

25 листопада російські прикордонники у Керченській протоці відкрили вогонь по трьох українських кораблях і захопили їх і екіпажі. Підконтрольні Кремлю суди у Криму арештували 24 моряків на два місяці. Зараз вони перебувають у Москві. Українська влада визнає їх військовополоненими, як то визначає міжнародне право.

Країни Заходу засудили дії Росії. В Євросоюзі закликали до «стриманості і деескалації», а генеральний секретар НАТО Єнс Столтенберґ оприлюднив заяву з вимогою до Росії звільнити військовополонених і захоплені кораблі.