America

Donald Trump’s Get Out of Jail Card

Anyone seeking to understand Donald Trump’s legal travails and what might be his next move will find it both informative and amusing to poke about in the New York State Commission on Judicial Conduct’s (NYCJC) database of judges dragged off the bench. Helpfully, the Commission has made the determinations available for key-word searches, so “bribe”, “driving while intoxicated”, “disbarred” and “imprisoned” bring up some quite staggering cases of judicial malfeasance.

Cases like this one, for instance, which saw a NY State Supreme Court judge accept cash and gifts to settle lawsuits in favour of an upstate Democratic Party boss who, just by the way, also happened to be under indictment for the rape of an 11-year-old. Then there is the NYCJC’s account of a Queens judge’s bizarre antics. Apparently inspired by nothing but sheer spite for a back-talking police witness, she opened the court’s side door for a violent drug dealer who was keen to avoid detectives waiting for him on the front steps. Even by Victoria’s current standards, New York justice is a strange and smelly thing, as “convicted felon” Trump will continue telling anyone, everywhere and all the time as November 5 draws closer.

All up since 1982, some 953 New York judges (as of the most recent update) have been “censured” for misconduct, “admonished” not to do whatever they did again, or simply sacked in disgrace. That’s an average of 22 judges disciplined every year, four of whom banned outright from ever again presiding. Select at random just about any ruling in the NYCJC’s ledger and it’s not hard to grasp why Trump had no chance of a fair trial in a Blue state where judicial office is attained via political patronage. All this needs to be kept in mind while wondering how Trump’s legal team will go about lodging and pursuing his appeal.

The first thing to know is that a jury decides innocent or guilty but does not convict, not as such. This will happen officially on July 11, when Judge Juan Marchan reveals what he has in store for Trump, which in theory could be as much as 136 years incarceration, four for each of the 34 charges. Marchan could jail him for a shorter period, and just might given everything Trump has said about him, or order house arrest and the latest in techno anklewear. He even has the option of ripping up the jury’s verdict and dismissing all charges, which isn’t likely in the least. Were this any other standard-issue, garden-variety, New York-style bent operator on the bench, they would be the only options and that would be how the appeal process plays out — guilty, formally convicted, sentenced, appeal lodged.

But Trump is a former president and an aspiring one, the latter distinction possibly opening an escape from the cesspit of New York justice via avenues of appeal unavailable to lesser mortals, whose only option is to fight their convictions through those successive strata of state courts. When all the home turf appeal options have been exhausted then, finally, the US Supreme Court can get involved, if the justices are so inclined. Below are some of the 21 judges available to hear the first New York appeal. Given the inclination, political provenance and Democrat affiliations, one doesn’t need to be clairvoyant to anticipate the result, or that the process that would drag on for years.

Being an ex-president does have its advantages, however, as Jed Rubinfeld, a Yale law professor, explains in this video. Rather than submit to foregone maulings in New York’s courts, Trump could take his appeal straight to a federal jurisdiction. Rubinfeld writes (emphasis added)

…There are surveys, many polls in which a substantial number of American voters say they will not vote for Trump if he is convicted of a felony. Many independents say that, many Republicans even say that. If that’s true, an unlawful conviction in this case could interfere with and in fact decide the outcome of the next election of the next President of the United States.

Even if the conviction were reversed on appeal years later, that effect could not be undone in legal terms. That’s called irreparable harm. The irreparable harm, once again, is that a ‘convicted felon’ could affect the election, could decide the election. And if so, then District Attorney Bragg and Judge Merchan will have unlawfully interfered with the election and decided the outcome of the next election through unconstitutional means. And no years-long appeal could have any effect on that…

We won’t know Trump’s plans until formal sentencing on July 11, but just say that a federal court looked into the cesspit of New York justice, noted the slather of blatant irregularities and Judge Merchan’s blatant partisanship and scuttled the conviction. If the first federal court declined to act, then it would be straight to the Supremes.

The White House, Biden Justice Department and its proxies in New York appear to have believed a conviction would do Trump’s presidential hopes a mortal blow, which hasn’t happened. The polls, to the extent they can be believed, have shown only a slight loss, if any, in Trump’s popularity.

If he takes Rubinfeld’s advice, ‘goes federal’ and carries the day before November 5, that would be seen by many voters as another Biden debacle, along with the southern border invasion, the Afghanistan-exit debacle, inflation, open anti-Semitism …. the list goes on an on. 

12 thoughts on “Donald Trump’s Get Out of Jail Card

  • Peter Smith says:

    Hmm? Five ladies of colour, judging the first appeal. I am sure they are there on their merits. But on the very slim chance that they might be prejudiced against Trump he should avoid them if he can. Mark Levin (Fox News) has been banging on about the legal options available to Trump and his lawyers to go directly to the Supreme Court and test whether it will hear the case. Seems convincing to me and worth a shot.

  • Sindri says:

    Small point, I think that pic is simply one of those “historic bench” occasions when “five women of color” sat on some appeal.

  • Elizabeth Beare says:

    The Democratic machine is certainly trying to do ‘irreparable harm’ to President Trump and his current electoral campaign. That much is obvious. The Supreme Court must have an intervention role in this unless, as is very doubtful, a lower Appelate Court throws this dummy case out. The Supreme Court has acted previously and decisively in matters of crucial electoral significance. They cannot sit on their hands for this one, for the risk to rights granted by the American Constitution is too great.

    • pgang says:

      They refused all cases in matters of crucial election significance in 2020, so I wouldn’t hold my breath.

      • Sindri says:

        They did so because the cases presented to them were rubbish.
        They were very quick to overturn the attempts by a couple of breathtakingly incompetent, or worse, state courts to ban Trump from the ballot, even the liberal judges.

  • kh says:

    The sentencing judge has a problem. If the crime does not justify a prison term, then the whole thing has been a storm in a teacup. If it does, then it is likely to trigger significant domestic instability.

  • Ceres says:

    The photo of those five judges sends a chill up my spine. Scary stuff given what I’ve observed regarding legalese and that particular cohort of humans.

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