- Radley Balko, The Washington Post
Immigration law and enforcement have been on the front pages for the last several years, and that shows no signs of changing. One aspect to our national debate on immigration that hasn't received as much attention as it should is the effect that the several states can have on the issue. Through its policing powers and criminal sentencing guidelines, a state can influence who the federal immigration authorities can remove from the country. Our experts discussed the important constitutional issues that these trends present.
What actions are political and what actions are criminal? Where should prosecutors and courts draw the lines? How should we decide what actions should be evaluated at the ballot box and what actions should be evaluated in a court of law? This panel will discuss the recent use of criminal law to pursue public officials and political activity. A presentation of former high level Justice Department attorneys will look to recent prosecutions, such as those of Bob McDonnell and John Edwards, to evaluate whether our criminal law is wading too deeply into political activity. Relying on their expertise, the panelists will address a number of federal crimes, like Honest Services Fraud, used to pursue politicians, and discuss whether it is wise to put politics on trial, or whether the voters should decide.
The Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group hosted this event on December 11, 2014, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
National Press Club
On December 1, 2014, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Elonis v. United States. The question in this case is twofold. First, this case asks whether the First Amendment requires proof of the defendant’s subjective intent to threaten in order to convict someone of threatening another person under 18 U.S. C. § 875(c), or whether it is sufficient to demonstrate that a “reasonable person” would consider the statement to be threatening. The second question in this case is whether, as a matter of statutory interpretation, conviction of another person requires proof of the defendant’s subjective intent to threaten.
To discuss the case, we have Kent S. Scheidegger, Legal Director & General Counsel, Criminal Justice Legal Foundation.