Sunday, March 23, 2008

Which is Federal, which is State, and is one neither (Wecht and Kilpatrick)

Deliberations in the Wecht trial resume on Tuesday. See Pittsburgh Post Tribune here

A decision on what happens to Detroit's Mayor Kilpatrick will likely be announced on Monday here

One interesting aspect about these two matters, is that Wecht is being tried by federal prosecutors for crimes that involve state conduct. (see here) In Kilpatrick's case, it is a Wayne County prosecutor who will be making the decision of whether to proceed criminally with any alleged matters. (see here)

These days the line between federal and state jurisdiction is very blurred.  The dual sovereignty rule often permits both to proceed.  It all depends on who has a criminal statute that can be applied to the specific situation, and which prosecutor wishes to proceed.  It makes you wonder if individuals should have such extraordinary power to make these decisions.  Overly broad criminal statutes drafted by the legislature allow prosecutors this discretion.


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