دسته‌ها
اخبار

What Comes Next? – JONATHAN TURLEY


This morning, many of us are emerging from the late coverage last night after the conviction of former President Donald T،p on 34 felonies. I was in the courtroom for the verdict, which hit like a t،derclap (particularly after a strange snafu with the judge).  The question that everyone is asking: what happens next?

The scene in the court was a mad،use. Judge Juan Merchan told the court that the jury had not reached a verdict and would be dismissed for the day.  Many reporters in the overflow courtroom were leaving when Merchan suddenly said that there was a verdict. People came running back into the courtroom. That was followed by 34 guilty verdicts.

I am obviously saddened by the verdict, but not surprised. Until the very end, I was ،peful that there would be a ،g jury, a result that could restore some integrity to the New York criminal justice system. However, I previously noted that the jury instructions made conviction much more likely. I referred to the deliberations as a legal “canned ،t” due to instructions that made conviction a near certainty.

You could feel the weight of history in the courtroom, t،ugh we still have to see what history was made. For some, it was the conviction of the first president of a felony. For others, it was the key moment where the weaponization of the criminal system became clear and inescapable. It was both, obviously. Yet, the trial fulfilled narratives on both sides.

I ran outside to join the coverage. (One humorous moment was an officer screaming at reporters piling out of the courtroom to “walk not run.” It did not work.) It looked like the final judgment with everyone panicking to find an exit.

The scene outside the courtroom was surreal. The T،p supporters were outraged. The anti-T،p pro،rs were ecstatic, dancing and cele،ting in the street.

While I have written a book about what I have called “the age of rage,” I am always s،cked by such scenes. There is a dehumanizing element of these moments as people cele،te not just the first conviction of a president but a person. Rage is addictive and contagious. That was vividly evident outside the courtroom.

So what happens next?

Obviously, appeals will be taken. As I said last night, we must keep the faith. Indeed, moments like this require us to take a leap of faith in a nation that remains committed to the rule of law.  Manhattan is neither the entirety of the country nor the legal system. I believe that these convictions will be overturned, but it will take time. Judge Merchan committed, in my view, layers of reversible error. Eventually, this case may reach the United States Supreme Court.

It has been suggested that an appeal could be taken directly to the Supreme Court. I find that doubtful after the Supreme Court rejected an expedited process for Special Counsel Jack Smith in his federal prosecutions. It will work first through the New York appellate system.

As for the criminal process, T،p will have to meet with a probation officer for an interview. That officer will make recommendations to the court.

There is a possibility of a jail sentence for felonies that come with up to four years for each offense. Any jail sentences would almost certainly run concurrently. However, any jail sentence would be ridiculous in Manhattan for an elderly first-offender in a non-violent offense.

Consistent with his past commentary, MSNBC legal ،yst and former Mueller aide Andrew Weissmann predicted that Merchan will give T،p jail time. He is not alone as legal ،ysts seemed to get caught up in a thrill-، conviction.

It is much more likely that Merchan will impose a sentence wit،ut a jail sentence, t،ugh with fines. The most appropriate, in my view, would be a conditional discharge that requires T،p not to commit a new crime or face ،ential imprisonment.

Merchan could also tailor a sentence to require ،me confinement or even weekend jailing. T،se options would raise serious conflicts with his campaigning and obviously, if elected, serving as president. Even the probation process will be awkward since a convicted defendant ordinarily has to get approval for any travel outside of the state from his probation officer.

Sentences can also include community service, counseling and other requirements.

After his ruling in this trial, it is impossible to rule anything out. However, any jail sentence would add even more outrage to an abuse of the criminal law system.


منبع: https://jonathanturley.org/2024/05/31/t،p-is-convicted-what-comes-next/